Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEx) website hacked, impacts trades

Filed Under: Featured, Vulnerability

HKEx logoThe Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEx) halted trading this afternoon for seven stocks after its website was hacked during the morning trading session.

The seven stocks in question were all due to release sensitive results to the website that could impact the price of their stocks.

Although the Hong Kong stock exchange also operates an alternative backup site for posting the results, it chose to halt trading of the affected stocks for the afternoon session.

Stocks affected included HSBC, Cathay Pacific, China Power International and the Hong Kong exchange itself.

It is unclear at this point whether the attack actually compromised the site, or if it was merely a denial of service attack.

Charles Li, the Chief Executive of the exchange said that the hack only impacted the website and no systems involved in trading or financials were impacted.

Stock market imageTrading will resume normally for the seven stocks in tomorrow's session utilizing the backup bulletin board if the website cannot be secured properly before the market open.

This follows on the heels of attacks against the Nasdaq stock exchange in February of this year.

The systems responsible for trading are not hooked up to the internet, which should provide an additional degree of protection.

It was refreshing to see Mr. Li not blame the attacks on ueber-sophisticated, foreign, advanced ninja hackers, but rather state the facts and explain what the exchange is doing to ensure the integrity of the market.

Keep following Naked Security, as we will provide additional details on this story as more information is made available.

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One Response to Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEx) website hacked, impacts trades

  1. Adrienne Boswell · 1166 days ago

    Jehoshaphat! I just commented on the story about Facebook being taken down on November 5, and made mention of Tom Clancy's book, Debt of Honor, where something very similar happened, only it was the US stock market.

    I have been through market crashes before, specifically Black Monday, October 19, 1987, which was due in part to programmed trading, and the computers did not know when to close down, so the crash just cascaded. I was the IT person at a brokerage in Beverly Hills, California at the time. We had both an ADP and Quotron quotation systems. The ADP system thought that the market would never go below -300 points, so when the market got to -301, and as it dropped further, ADP showed the market going up. The guys on the first floor were all excited until I told them the Quotrons on the fifth floor had the real prices. I also had to answer NASD and SEC complaints from customers who got burned that day. It wasn't pretty. The thing is, even though it was a computer error, that crash affected world markets and finances for years - we may still be feeling the effect to some extent today.

    I hope the traders in Hong Kong can keep other markets from getting frightened and causing another disaster like we had in 1987.

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About the author

Chester Wisniewski is a Senior Security Advisor at Sophos Canada. He provides advice and insight into the latest threats for security and IT professionals with the goal of providing clear guidance on complex topics. You can follow Chester on Twitter as @chetwisniewski, on App.net as Chester, Chester Wisniewski on Google Plus or send him an email at chesterw@sophos.com.