No longer is insider trading exclusive to Wall Street and Martha Stewart. It can be done with a little knowledge of PR and a team of advanced computer hackers.
A group of stock traders and a team of two Ukranian-based computer hackers joined forces to access business information before it became public, by using websites well-known to those of us in the PR community. Marketwired, PR Newswire and Business Wire, the three victims of the hack, had hundreds of press releases stolen from their domains. These press releases contained inside information on some of America’s top companies, making the hackers $100 million in profits.
According to CNN, Cathy Baron Tamraz, CEO of Business Wire said, “Despite extreme vigilance and commitment, recent events illustrate that no one is immune to the highly sophisticated illegal cyber-intrusions that are plaguing every aspect of our society.” Five out of the 16 stock traders involved in the hack were arrested at their homes, and international arrest warrants have been issued to the two hackers and two other stock traders in Ukraine. Federal authorities have seized $6.5 million in brokerage and bank accounts, as well as, $5.5 million in properties related to the hack. All 16 stock traders involved face civil charges from the SEC, and nine also face criminal charges.
Your press release now has new meaning. For PR professionals and business owners, it’s a way to generate press and communicate about your company. For stock traders, it’s the new way to make millions.