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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Examines Threat to Wall Street from Cyber Attacks
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will examine, according to Bloomberg News, the exposure of stock exchanges, brokerages and also other Wall Street firms to cyber-attacks that have been called a threat to financial stability. A cyber-attack is any type of offensive maneuver employed by individuals or whole organizations that targets computer information systems, infrastructures, computer networks, and/or personal computer devices by various means of malicious acts. Cyber-attacks can range from installing spyware on a PC to attempts to destroy the infrastructure of entire nations.

In a global survey in 2012, more than half of the exchanges had reported that they experienced a cyber-attack, while 67 percent of U.S. exchanges said a hacker attempted to penetrate their systems. Companies are not required by the SEC to disclose all cyber-attacks that they suffer. A partner at Ropes & Gray LLP, Douglas H. Meal, stated that companies have a “tremendous disincentive” to reveal attacks because of the litigation they may face as a result. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair, Mary Jo White said that “Cyberthreats are of extraordinary and long-term seriousness,” according to Bloomberg News White has reported that, “The public and private sectors must be riveted in lockstep in addressing these threats.”


SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar has called for the agency to establish a cybersecurity task force. The SEC also will probe how public companies are disclosing cyber threats in filings provided to investors. Bloomberg has reported that according to a study by the Ponemon Institute, a research and consulting firm, that criminal hacking cost financial services companies, on average, about $18.8 million in 2013.

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