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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.”

  
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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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