The Courier-Mail

Mar­ket scam nets $137m in illegal prof­its

- Business · Crime · White-collar Crime · Hacking · Fraud · Information Security · Tech · Ukraine · Marketwire · PR Newswire · Business Wire

Ex­change Com­mis­sion list­ing 32 de­fen­dants said the scheme yielded more than $100 mil­lion in un­law­ful prof­its.

The con­spir­acy was al­legedly en­gi­neered by a pair of hack­ers in Ukraine who pen­e­trated the com­puter sys­tems of Mar­ketwired, PR Newswire and Busi­ness Wire, which send out press re­leases for ma­jor firms.

“The de­fen­dants were a well-or­gan­ised group that al­legedly robbed the newswire com­pa­nies and their clients and cheated the se­cu­ri­ties mar­kets and the in­vest­ing public by en­gag­ing in an un­prece­dented hack­ing and trad­ing scheme,” US at­tor­ney Paul Fish­man said.

“The de­fen­dants launched a se­ries of so­phis­ti­cated and re­lent­less cy­ber at­tacks against three ma­jor newswire com­pa­nies, stole highly con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion and used (it) to en­rich them­selves at the ex­pense of public com­pa­nies and their share­hold­ers.”

The Ukraine-based hack­ers al­legedly stole about 150,000 press re­leases from Fe­bru­ary 2010 through to this year that con­tained in­for­ma­tion crit­i­cal to stock val­u­a­tion.

The hack­ers then sold the stolen data to traders, at times be­ing com­pen­sated with a flat fee and other times with a per­cent­age of prof­its from the trades.

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