A week ago in the October 13th Scam of the day I informed you about the hacking of Dow Jones & Co., the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s. This data breach went all the way back to August of 2012 but was not identified until July of 2015. There has been much speculation about the goal of the hackers as they did not attempt to reach much in the way of personal information. Now Bloomberg is reporting that the FBI, Secret Service and SEC are investigating the possibility that the hacking, which they are presently attributing to unidentified Russian hackers may have been done to obtain insider information that could be used before it would be made public for purposes of profitably trading stocks. This certainly is not as far fetched as it may initially appear. As regular readers of Scamicide will remember, in the September 20th Scam of the day I reported to you about the SEC settling civil charges against two defendants who used this same type of tactic of stealing inside information to make stock trades. In that case, the defendants made 23 million dollars by hacking into public relations companies Marketwired, PR Newswire and Business Wire to learn inside corporate information before these companies could release the information to the public through press releases. In regard to Dow Jones’ publications, early access through hacking to information about mergers and acquisitions as well as other corporate information could well be exploited to make profitable stock trades based on this inside information before it became known by the public.
Scam artists are the only criminals whom we refer to as artists and they are constantly coming up with new ways to turn hacking into profits. Companies have got to start doing a better job of recognizing that they are targets and protect their data better. I will report to you about future developments in this story as they occur.