RealTime IT News

Hacker Raids Taiwan Stock Brokerages For 12 Months

Earlier this month, a hacker who is suspected of breaking into the pricing systems of various Taiwanese brokerages was arrested by police and scheduled for prosecution, according to local Chinese language press.

Apparently, the hacker broke into the real-time pricing systems of more than 20 brokerages including some of the most established houses in Taiwan and used the stolen market data over the last 12 months to sell short in significant amounts earning more than 10 million Taiwan dollars (US$303,000).

Taiwanese criminal justice authorities and the Taiwan Police started the investigation after a number of complaints from brokerages houses.

Information stolen included a large volume of information such as transaction data, account numbers and records of big investors.

"Network security in Taiwan is no different than anywhere else in the world," said a pioneer in Taiwan's Net industry. "For example, just last week, a hacker apparently took over eBay's Web site and claims he can get back in whenever he wants to."

"So if you don't take the security of your site seriously, something like that is bound to happen," he added, "particularly if you have a prime target like an e-commerce or securities Web site."

The suspect is allegedly a top law graduate from the National University of Taiwan who has been unemployed.

Police believe that the suspected hacker followed the transaction trends of the big accounts in the market, short sold in big volume and when the big accounts bought back stocks, he took a 'free ride' on their transaction.

The suspect also used the Web to distribute the stolen info to the members of a stock trading club founded by him.

Moreover, he is suspected to have blackmailed brokers who sent out false information about various stocks for financial gain by threatening to go public with the knowledge, according to the police and to press reports.

"Perhaps this case will persuade management at other Taiwan companies to invest in training their systems engineers to implement better security precautions," commented the industry veteran.