Business Wire: Security 'number one concern' after elaborate scheme targets wire services

"Recent events illustrate that no one is immune to the highly sophisticated illegal cyber-intrusions that are plaguing every aspect of our society," said the company's CEO.

NEW YORK: Business Wire said Tuesday that cybersecurity is its top concern after the Securities and Exchange Commission charged 32 individuals with allegedly hacking press releases and trading on their information before it was made public.

The company said in a statement on Tuesday morning that security is the company’s "number one concern."

Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz explained in the statement that the company devotes substantial resources annually to security, including multiple audits by leading industry consultants.

"Protecting the confidential information of our clients is of paramount importance," she said in the statement. "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."

Business Wire also noted that it has hired a prominent cybersecurity firm to test its systems and ensure its network is fully operational and secure.

The company said it is cooperating with a Justice Department investigation into the scheme.

Marketwired, meanwhile, said it is "confident" about its cybersecurity efforts.

Calls to Marketwired seeking comment were returned by a representative from Levick. Jason Maloni, an SVP at the firm, said he could not elaborate on the relationship between the agency and the wire service.

A representative from PR Newswire could not be reached immediately for comment. The company did not make a statement about the reported hacking on Twitter or Facebook on Tuesday.

The three press release distributors were penetrated as part of an elaborate scheme in which hackers and traders gained access to statements on not-yet-public mergers and acquisitions via wire services in an effort to trade on the insider information, according to CNNMoney.

The SEC charged 32 people on Monday for taking part in the scheme, including two Ukrainian men who allegedly hacked into the newswire services. Ivan Turchynov and Oleksandr Ieremenko were the ringleaders of the scheme, using "advanced techniques" to hack into two or more release-distributors over a five-year period, according to the SEC. The data was given to 30 other defendants who traded on it, making more than $100 million in illegal profits, according to the government agency.

Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s division of enforcement, referred to the scheme in a statement as "one of the most intricate and sophisticated trading rings that we have ever seen, spanning the globe and involving dozens of individuals and entities."

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