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US Authorities Accuse International Cyber-Scammers for Pilfering More Than $100 Million

Japantimes.co.jp published news on 12th August, 2015 quoting an announcement by US officials as "An international team of computer hackers and stock traders was accused for pocketing over $100 million in illegitimate profits based on stolen market-moving financial information."

The Department of Justice accused nine people for a criminal conspiracy who have made more than $30 million in illegitimate trades based on stolen information.

A parallel civil case from the US Securities and Exchange Commission listing 32 defendants said that the scheme generated more than $100 million profits illegally.

The officials said that the conspiracy was planned by a couple of hackers in Ukraine who successfully breached the computer systems of PR Newswire, Marketwired and Business Wire which distribute press releases for major publicly traded companies.

Japantimes.co.jp published news on 12th August, 2015 quoting Paul Fishman, a US Attorney, as saying "The defendants were a well-organised group which apparently robbed the newswire companies and their clients and cheated the securities markets and the investors by engaging in an unmatched hacking and trading scheme. The defendants launched a series of sophisticated and ruthless cyber-attacks against these three major companies of newswire stole highly confidential information and used it to enrich themselves at the expense of public companies and their shareholders."

The hackers apparently used methods starting from brute force attacks to spear-phishing - or sending concealed malware to targets in the form of genuine-looking emails - to exploiting vulnerabilities in the databases used by distributors.

DOJ claimed that cybercriminals could make over 150,000 press releases during the course of the scheme and they passed off news reports to traders concerning more than 100 companies.

Business Wire, which is one of the victims, issued a statement saying that it was working intimately with the US DOJ (Department of Justice) and had engaged a cybersecurity company to perform "additional forensic testing" of its systems.

Bbc.com published news on 11th August, 2015 quoting Cathy Baron Tamraz, CEO of Business Wire, as saying "We allocate considerable resources yearly to security that includes multiple security assessments by consultants of leading industry. In spite of extreme alertness and commitment, new events demonstrate that no one is fully protected to the highly advanced illegal cyber-attacks which are troubling every phase of our society."

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