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.

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