You have to read how these hackers were allegedly getting insider tips on stock market developments. It's one of the biggest illegal trading schemes ever, and the hackers behind it earned $100 million according to prosecutors. Crime doesn't pay, however, and these people could be looking at serious jail time.
The ring centered on nine hackers, five in the U.S. and four in Ukraine, according to a report by the Associated Press. Their hack was relatively simple. Using a phishing scam to get computer users' login names and passwords, they infiltrated three business public relations firms: Marketwired, PR Newswire and Business Wire. They could then see companies' press releases in advance.
When they had good information in advance, they posted it to private overseas servers, where stock trading experts got wind of things like earnings reports and other corporate news ahead of the public. Sometimes they were mere hours ahead of the public finding out, sometimes they had up to three days.
The hacking ring's activities spanned from 2010 to May of this year, according to the AP. In one example, in 2013 the hackers got their hands on a press release announcing Panera Bread Company was lowering its earnings projections. They short-sold the stock, basically dumping it early in the hopes the stock would fall after the information was public. The hackers made a million dollars the next day.
This case is yet another reminder to safeguard yourself against hackers, at work as well as at home. Click here to find out how to avoid being the victim of a phishing scam.