In the past decade the cybersecurity community has seen hackers progress steadily from breaching big box stores and the media industry to sensitive government files and even the White House. Breaches such as Target and Home Depot became so commonplace that new attacks were often greeted by the public with a collective yawn. Media breaches brought new headlines but the attacks on the Office of Personnel Management caused many to wonder if government files could be breached, was anything secure?
It turns out that apparently nothing is. Recently, PR Newswire and Business Wire were victims of a cyber-breach that resulted in insider trading activity as clever hackers were able to secure pending news of business activities—forecasts for stocks to rise or fall once the news was released. As we now know, hackers infiltrated those services, gained the inside information prior to release, and acting in conjunction with a group of ‘shady’ traders in various countries, made more than $100 million in profits. Sneaky people, these hackers.
This breach may have been prevented if adequate precautions had been taken by those newswire services. From available reports, it appears there were numerous vulnerabilities in their digital systems. First, the pending reports were stored on the newswires’ servers. We have to ask: what precautions were taken to protect the data stored there?….