Cyber-Attack Is a Systemic Risk, Exchange Study Says

Cyber-Attack Is a Systemic Risk, Exchange Study Says: A “significant” number of exchanges have fought off sabotage via the Internet in the last year and the majority of bourses worldwide say it is a systemic risk to markets, according to a study co-authored by the World Federation of Exchanges.

About 53 percent of exchanges surveyed have been hit by a cyber-attack in the last year. American venues were most likely, with 67 percent saying they had to fight them off, the joint study by the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the WFE found. About 89 percent say it represents a systemic risk, the study said.

“A number of respondents could envision a large-scale, coordinated and successful cyber-attack on financial markets having a substantial impact on market integrity and efficiency,” the study said. Asked to define such an attack, “the majority of respondents proposed scenarios with more far-reaching consequences, such as halting trading,” it said.

In February 2011, suspicious files were discovered on a Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. website that facilitates director communication among listed companies, prompting the exchange operator to start an investigation with federal authorities. The trading platforms operate independently from the company’s “web-facing” services, the company said at the time.

The New York Stock Exchange website faced threats from a hacker group in October 2011. The venue said its website functioned without interruption on the day of the threatened intrusion.