Attack on brokerages’ online trading maybe from Vietnam: TWSE

Taipei-- Recent attacks against the online trading systems of some local securities houses may have originated from Vietnam, according to a preliminary investigation conducted by the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE).

The TWSE, which operates the local main board, said that the hackers used computer malware to attack brokerages' online trading systems through a computer system located in Vietnam.

However, it admitted that it still cannot be 100 percent confirmed whether the hackers were based in the Southeast Asian country, as they could have taken control the computer system located in Vietnam even if they were outside the country.

Since Feb. 1, the online trading system of about 10 brokerages, including Ta Chan Securities (???), MasterLink Securities (???), Capital Securities (???) and Ta Chong Securities, have suffered distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks for periods of time ranging from 10 minutes to more than three hours.

The DDoS attacks significantly slowed down the speed of the brokerages' online trading systems, which caused their online services to fail completely.

After their online trading systems came under attack, the affected securities houses said they received blackmail messages demanding 6-10 bitcoins (1 bitcoin is worth about NT$31,000 or US$1,000) or they would face other attacks to paralyze their online trading services. The ransoms were asked based on the affected brokerages' capital size.

TWSE Chairman Shih Jun-ji (???) said the exchange should improve the mechanism for the brokerages to allow them to report their damage more precisely, while the exchange will inform the public of similar attacks through a single channel in the future to avoid chaos in the equity market.

Shih said that the TWSE will provide technical assistance to brokerages to help them deal with possible DDoS attacks in the future.

He said he has instructed the TWSE to hold meetings with related securities trading associations, such as the Taiwan Securities Association and the Chinese National Futures Association, as well as telecom services providers, to map out solutions to deal with such cyberattacks.

Last week, the TWSE met with representatives from Chunghua Telecom Co. (???), Taiwan Mobile Co. (???) and Far EasTone Telecommunications Co. (??), securities houses and futures trading houses on the matter, hoping that the recent cyberattacks will provide the securities sector with an opportunity to strength their information security.

In the meeting, telecom operators were asked to improve their inspections of data flows in a bid to help securities houses to remove any technology glitches caused by cyberattacks, the TWSE said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel