Hackers continue to breach systems of vital importance to the US, and the latest one to be compromised is the one belonging to the company that operates the Nasdaq Stock Market.
According to the WSJ, hackers have repeatedly managed to access the network during the past year. And even though people familiar with the investigation into the matter – mounted by the Secret Service and the FBI – say that the actual trading platform was not compromised, it is worrying that so far it has failed to explain what the attackers were looking for.
Investigators can think of a number of possible motives behind the hacks – the prominent two are financial gain (through theft of information) and compromise of national security (through the disruption of the functioning of a critical national economical asset).
So far, it seems that the hackers haven’t tampered with the network in any way and that they simply took a look around. It is likely that the attackers were simply scouting the network and are currently thinking about the best way to use the gathered information, but the most worrying thing is that the investigators are not and can not ever be sure if all security holes have been plugged.
Since unequivocal attribution of such attacks to a group of hackers or a specific country is notoriously difficult, the investigators have yet to define exactly who targeted Nasdaq’s networks. There is some evidence that points to computers in Russia, but they could be operated from anywhere in the world, so that’s not saying much.