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SEC: hackers hit law firms, traded on nonpublic information

Joe Mont | December 27, 2016

For the first time, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged traders with hacking into law firms’ computer networks to obtain non-public information.

On Dec. 27, the SEC announced it had charged three Chinese nationals with fraudulently trading on nonpublic, market-moving information stolen from two prominent New York-based law firms. The trio raked in nearly $3 million in illegal profits from confidential information pertaining to firm clients considering mergers or acquisitions.

According to the SEC’s complaint, the alleged hacking incidents involved installing malware on the law firms’ networks, compromising accounts that enabled access to all e-mail accounts at the firms, and copying and transmitting gigabytes of emails to remote internet locations.

“We used enhanced trading surveillance...

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