Hackers have repeatedly penetrated the computer network of the company that runs the Nasdaq Stock Market during the past year, and federal investigators are trying to identify the perpetrators and their purpose, according to people familiar with the matter.
The exchange’s trading platform—the part of the system that executes trades—wasn’t compromised, these people said. However, it couldn’t be determined which other parts of Nasdaq’s computer network were accessed.
Investigators are considering a range of possible motives, including unlawful financial gain, theft of trade secrets and a national-security threat designed to damage the exchange.
A probe into the matter was initiated by the Secret Service and now includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The mystery surrounding the hackers and their motives is worrying investigators, who remain unsure whether they have been able to plug all potential security gaps—especially since invaders typically seek new ways to breach systems.
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.
In 1999, hackers vandalized Nasdaq’s publicly accessible website. In that incident, a group of hackers quickly claimed responsibility for defacing the site, as well as major media websites. Nasdaq officials at that time said the company’s internal network wasn’t affected.
By Devlin Barrett
The Wall Street Journal