SEC says its corporate filing system was hacked

SEC says hackers may have profited from stolen insider information

SEC says hackers may have profited from stolen insider information

A post on the SEC site said Clayton's statement "is part of an ongoing assessment of the SEC's cybersecurity risk profile that Chairman Clayton initiated upon taking office in May".

The EDGAR database which was hacked is used by corporations to file a range of sensitive reports, from their quarterly earnings forms through to announcements of mergers and acquisitions.

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While the SEC handles non-public drafts of rules and personally-identifiable information, it said it doesn't believe the breach led to unauthorized access of that type of data, endangered the operations of the agency, or resulted in "systemic risk".

It said that while the vulnerability was "patched promptly after discovery", that did not occur before it "was exploited and resulted in access to nonpublic information".

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In the disclosure, made in a lengthy cybersecurity statement issued on Wednesday evening, the agency said that hackers had gained entry to this system during 2016. But the regulator learned previous year that it had failed to keep closely guarded corporate secrets safe from hackers - and only just told the public about it after learning cyber-criminals may have placed profitable trades using the stolen information. The admission means that the intrusion was potentially far more serious than that in April 2015, when a Bulgarian hacker uploaded a fake press release to EDGAR about Avon Products being taken private by a fictional PE group. While the SEC has been aware of the breach since 2016, it wasn't until last month that the agency concluded that the cybercriminals involved may have used their bounty to make illicit trades. The SEC says it gets more than 1.7 million filings each year, and more than 50 million pages of documents are accessed every day.

Specifically, hackers exploited a software vulnerability in the SEC's "EDGAR" system, a vast archive of financial records for companies listed on the USA stock exchange. It only went public with the revelation in September 2017 after concluding hackers may have made money from the ill-gotten information.

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"We must be vigilant". The data filed to the SEC often includes non-public "draft" versions of corporate filings, and the SEC also maintains a Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) that could be used to determine patterns in trading.

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