The US-based Nasdaq stock exchange said its security system was breached by hackers, but asserted that there was no evidence that any of its customer information or trading was compromised.
“Through our normal security monitoring systems we detected suspicious files on the US servers unrelated to our trading systems and determined that our Web-facing application Directors Desk was potentially affected,” Mr Vince Palmiere, Vice-President (Investor Relations) of Nasdaq, said in an email to the media last evening.
Investigations are going on in association with the government agencies, Nasdaq said after the Wall Street Journal broke the news on Saturday.
Noting that it immediately conducted an investigation, including through outside forensic firms and the US federal law enforcement, Nasdaq said the files were immediately removed and there is no evidence that any Directors-Desk customer information was accessed or acquired by hackers.
“Our trading platform architecture operates independently from our Web-facing services like Directors Desk, and at no point was any of Nasdaq OMX's operated or serviced-trading platforms compromised,” the statement said.
Nasdaq said it did not make the information about hackers public on the advice of the Justice Department, which requested that it refrain from providing notice to its customers until February 14 in order to carry on investigation.
Nasdaq OMX remains vigilant against such attacks, the statement said. “We have been working in cooperation with the Government's ongoing investigations and have received their technical advice for which we are appreciative,” Nasdaq said.
According to the Wall Street Journal , people familiar with the matter said the Secret Service first began investigating last year.”
Investigators have informed the White-House officials, the daily reported, adding that such a move is typical in hacking investigations, particularly in the early stages of the probes.
“Authorities haven't yet been able to follow the trail to any specific individual or country. Those familiar with the case said that some evidence points toward Russia, but the person or people responsible could be almost anywhere, perhaps using computers in Russia merely as a conduit,” the daily reported.
The case poses two concerns for authorities: preserving the stability and reliability of computerised trading, and ensuring that investors have full faith in that system, the Journal said.