An international hacking ring proved to be the real wolves of Wall Street when, armed with insider trading secrets, they made off with more than $100million (£64million) from the stock exchange.
Yesterday, nine traders and hackers from the group were indicted for stealing advance copies of press releases in what was one of the digital age’s most wide ranging insider-trading schemes.
Since 2010, the group targeted a key vulnerability in the financial system. Hackers from countries including the U.S., Ukraine and Russia worked together to steal and profit from more than 150,000 press releases which had yet to be published.
The traders then used the information, sometimes acquired just minutes before the releases were published, to make their own trades.
The scheme ran from February 2010 to August 2015, and these guys did pretty damn well out of it, by all accounts.
Authorities reportedly seized bank accounts holding over $6.5m in alleged criminal proceeds, as well as $5.5m worth of property, including a house boat, an apartment building in Georgia, and a shopping centre in Pennsylvania.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair, Mary Jo White, said:
[The] brazen scheme was unprecedented in terms of the scope of the hacking, the number of traders involved, the number of securities unlawfully traded and the amount of profits generated. The traders were market-savvy, using equities and options to maximise their profits.
The stock exchange hacking may be the most elaborate scheme of its type to date, topping previous cases of fake news stories briefly inflating companies’ stock prices and hacking social media accounts to cause mass panic on the stock market. It’s also far subtler than Bane’s plot in the Dark Knight Rises, so that’s something.