The computer network that runs the NASDAQ Stock Market was penetrated by hackers multiple times during the past year, according to a newspaper report.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on its Web site late on Friday that US federal investigators are trying to identify the perpetrators and their motive.
People familiar with the investigation say the exchange’s trading platform, the system that executes trades, was not compromised, the Journal said. A person involved in the investigation told the paper that so far, the perpetrators “appear to have just been looking around.”
NASDAQ officials declined to comment. A telephone message left with the FBI’s office in New York was not immediately returned.
Possible motives include financial gain, theft of trade secrets or a national security threat designed to damage the exchange, the newspaper said.
The US Secret Service initiated the probe involving New York-based NASDAQ OMX Group last year. White House officials have also been informed.
Investigators have not yet been able to track the cyber break-ins to any specific individual or country, but people with knowledge of the case said some evidence points to Russia. However, the hackers could be just using Russia as a conduit, they said.
In 1999, a group of hackers calling itself “United Loan Gunmen” infiltrated the computer that runs the Web sites for the NASDAQ and the American Stock Exchange. They left a taunting message and also claimed to have briefly created for itself an e-mail account on NASDAQ ‘s computer system, suggesting a broader breach in security.
At the time, NASDAQ officials said there was no evidence they manipulated financial data.