SEC Investigating Hackers for Insider Trading

The SEC is looking for data breaches of confidential information such as mergers at eight listed companies in connection with an insider trading investigation that is being called the first securities investigation of its kind.

The Securities & Exchange Commission investigation was launched because of a report by FireEye Inc, a security company, about a group that has been called FIN4. The group has been trying to breach email accounts in biotech, pharmaceutical and other health care companies in order to take advantage of confidential, market-moving information such as mergers.

We’ve talked before about the possibility of cybersecurity whistleblowers receiving rewards for reporting hacking and insufficient disclosures by publicly traded companies, but this is the first example that I have seen of an electronic security com pay that might have discovered something that could lead to a whistleblower reward. The SEC must collect more than $1 million in an enforcement action to make an individual eligible for an incentive of between 10 and 30 percent of the total collected.

Hacking has been big news lately, and we’re not talking about the Sony hack around Christmas:

A Polish airline grounded dozens of flights because of a five hour cyber attack that disrupted their flight plan system. If confirmed, this would be one of the first instances of delayed or canceled fights due to hacking. Earlier this year, there were reports that a passenger hacked an airplane’s flight control system through the on-board wifi.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ front office is accused of hacking into the business intelligence of the Houston Astros. Federal prosecutors have issued subpoenas to the Cardinals, Astros and MLB looking for information.

A cyber attack against the Office of Personnel Management that stole federal employee data has been called the most devastating in our nation’s history, according to Senator John Boozman (R-Ark). The breach of the computer systems in late 2014 went undetected for month and now reportedly affects up to 18 million federal workers.

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