Hedge funds are aggressively managed investment portfolios that are largely unregulated. They generally are used by only the wealthiest of people. They also have become a ripe target for hackers who, according to a recent report by computer security firm BAE System, have been hacking into the computers of these funds and causing financial harm in a multitude of ways. According to BAE, one unnamed hedge fund lost millions of dollars after hackers managed to infiltrate their computers through simple spear phishing tactics by which the hackers tricked hedge fund employees into clicking on links in infected emails that downloaded malware into the hedge fund’s computers that enabled the hackers to learn about impending trades and then delay the trades while the hackers traded first based upon the stolen information. Another way that the hedge funds have been attacked is through the ransomware program Cryptolocker, about which I warned you repeatedly since November of 2013. Cryptolocker is a type of malware that infects the computer of the unwary victim and encrypts all of the victim’s data making it unusable unless they pay a ransom to the criminal hacker.
The financial industry as a whole has not taken sufficient security precautions and steps to protect themselves and our economy from the attacks of scammers, hackers and identity thieves. Just because you have not heard of many of these hackings as much as with high profile hackings of Target and other companies is very much because quite often the companies do not disclose that they have been hacked. The hedge fund industry’s sophisticated digital trading systems have become attractive targets to hackers and the hedge fund industry has not taken the necessary security steps to protect the integrity of their business from attack. Unfortunately, this type of crime is something that is going to get worse before it gets better. Whenever you are investing your money with a company, you should first inquire as to the security steps taken by the company.