updated 3/14/2011 2:14:10 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:14:10

A common saying in the security world is that cybercriminals go where the money is, so it makes perfect sense that Wall Street is the crooks' latest target. Luckily, the high-tech hack hasn't defrauded anyone out of millions of dollars – not yet, anyway.

Rony Kay, a security researcher and founder of cPacket Networks, a firm that develops chips to monitor network traffic, has created a proof-of-concept hack that shows how easily high-frequency financial trading networks can be manipulated to net the attacker millions of dollars in less than a second.

InfoWorld’s Bill Snyder wrote that the devious technological tricks are called “side channel” attacks, and are carried out when an attacker injects tiny amounts of latency into the high-speed transactions. By slowing down the speed of a rival’s financial computer network, the criminal therefore gains the ability to perform trades faster than others.

Because financial transaction networks operate at tremendously high speeds, a subtle, inconspicuous slow down would hardly be noticed, and in a matter of microseconds could net the attacker millions of dollars.

Kay said he does not know if anyone has launched a side-channel attack against a high-frequency trading network.

Given the pace at which cybercriminals have been operating recently, it wouldn’t be surprising to find Wall Street embroiled in a cyberbattle sometime soon.

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