The hackers who broke into the computer network belonging to the Nasdaq stock market’s corporate parent may have been going after confidential documents belonging to Fortune 500 companies.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story Feb. 5, the network of Nasdaq OMX was repeatedly hacked during the past year, but the servers used to execute Nasdaq trades were not compromised.
The fact that whoever was perpetrating the online attacks was apparently doing so for reasons other than immediate financial gain – hacking into the trading platform to siphon money – drew the attention of Forbes writer Jeffrey Carr.
In a post yesterday (Feb. 6), Carr wrote that, according to an unnamed federal official, the hackers’ target was Directors Desk, a cloud-based application owned by Nasdaq that stores sensitive data such as financial reports for hundreds of Fortune 500 companies and more than 10,000 corporate board members. The application also stores personal and professional information on board members and company executives.
Directors Desk allows its users to share confidential documents between scheduled board meetings. A breach of Directors Desk could allow the online attackers “access to the kind of rich, proprietary information that can dramatically impact stock prices in financial exchanges worldwide,” Carr said.
Though Nasdaq OMX issued a statement that said it had no evidence that Directors Desk client information was accessed, Carr believes the prolonged length of the hack and the money required to sustain such an attack suggests it may be state-sponsored.