Hackers break into law firms, make $4 million on insider trades

Three Chinese citizens were recently charged with hacking into U.S. law firms in an effort to place trades using insider knowledge on tech companies including Pitney Bowes and Intel. It’s almost straight out of a Hollywood Hacker-action flick.

The attacks seem to be relatively straightforward: hackers broke into two law firms seeking data on future deals, like acquisitions, and then placed trades with knowledge that others in the market weren’t aware of. It’s classic insider trading, just with a cybercrime twist.

Just the beginning
“This case of cyber meets securities fraud should serve as a wake-up call for law firms around the world: you are and will be targets of cyber hacking, because you have information valuable to would-be criminals,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said this week.

The U.S. government is charging the three hackers with computer intrusion, insider trading, wire fraud and conspiracy, Reuters said, noting that just one of the men has been arrested. The trio of hackers reportedly began attacking the law firms as early as 2014, placing malware on system computers.

The three hackers reportedly made off with as much as $4 million before the U.S. decided to swoop in and make its arrests.


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