The USA’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged two hackers and 30 stock market traders with hacking into newswire services and stealing press releases before they were made public.

The SEC alleges that the trading ring made in excess of $100 million in illegal revenue.

The two Ukrainian hackers have been identified as Ivan Turchynov and Oleksandr Ieremenko and have been accused of running the operation. The two hackers allegedly used proxy servers and social engineering to break into servers, pose as newswire employees and steal countless press releases that they then sold traders. The SEC says Ivan and Oleksandr “advertised” to traders by using video proof of their abilities and took a percentage of profits made on the trades as compensation.

Director of the SEC, Andrew Ceresney describes the operation as “the most intricate and sophisticated trading rings that we have ever seen”.

The SEC says that in May of 2013 the trading ring took just 10 minutes to break into a newswire server and steal a press release stating a company would be revising their earnings and revenue projections. It states that by the time the company officially released the press release as much as $511 000 had been made by the trading ring.

The 30 traders are said to come from France, Russia, Ukraine and the USA. They, along with the hackers now face charges of violating various antifraud laws and final judgement may see the group having to pay back the money they stole as well as penalties. The SEC also hopes to get permanent injunctions on the group to prevent future violations.

[Source – Security and Exchange Comission]

[Image – David Blaikie]