The National Security Agency has joined in a cyber forensic investigation off a major attack on NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. which operates the NASDAQ stock exchange, according to a report on Wednesday by Bloomberg.
As reported by Threatpost, the tech-heavy stock exchange was discovered to be infiltrated by hackers in October, after NASDAQ OMX staff found suspicious files on a U.S. based server not related to NASDAQ’s trading operations. NASDAQ said, at the time, that Directors Desk, a Web based application that allows users to store and share information may have been compromised.
A NASDAQ official at the time claimed that the hackers “appear to have just been looking around.” However, the involvement of the NSA – which Bloomberg attributed to unnamed sources familiar with the investigation — suggests that the breach may have been more than door handle rattling by hackers.
To date, investigators still haven’t identified a motive for the hack. However, NASDAQ’s exchange handles around 19 percent of stock trading in the US, which places it among power companies and air-traffic control as part of the nation’s essential infrastructure in the eyes of the government. Any trepidation on the part of traders resulting from the breach could have dire economic ramifications.
The NSA has particular expertise in digital forensics, as well as signals intelligence and cryptography. The super-secret Agency’s involvement suggests that U.S. officials want to get to the bottom of the breach – understanding who was behind it and what data may have been lifted from NASDAQ’s systems.