Hong Kong stock exchange hacked

The Hong Kong stock exchange was forced to halt trading this afternoon for 7 stocks after its website was hacked during the morning trading session.

According to Sophos security expert Chester Wisniewski, the above-mentioned stocks – including HSBC, Cathay Pacific and China Power International – were all due to release “sensitive results” to the website before the hack occurred.

Although the stock exchange operates an alternative backup site for posting results, it was decided to halt trading of the affected stocks for the afternoon session as a precautionary measure.

Nevertheless, it remains unclear if the attack actually compromised the site, or if it was merely a denial of service (DDoS) attack.

Charles Li, Chief Executive of the exchange, emphasized the hack only impacted the website – and no systems involved in trading or financials were affected.

Therefore, trading will resume normally for the seven stocks in tomorrow’s session – utilizing the backup bulletin board if the website cannot be secured properly before the market opens.

As Wisniewski notes, the Hong Kong hack follows an attack against the Nasdaq stock exchange in February of this year.

“[Still], it was [certainly] refreshing to see Mr. Li not blame the attacks on uber-sophisticated, foreign, advanced ninja hackers… Rather, [he calmly] stated the facts and explained what the exchange is doing to ensure the integrity of the market.”