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AP source: Hackers pierce system that runs Nasdaq

- Associated Press - Saturday, February 5, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal government official tells The Associated Press that investigators are trying to identify computer hackers who have repeatedly broken into the network of the company that runs the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The official says that the hackers haven't compromised the exchange's trading platform and that investigators are looking into a range of possible motives for the cyberattacks _ from financial gain to a national security threat.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiry by the FBI and Secret Service is continuing.

The official says the penetrations occurred over the course of more than a year.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the hacking.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The computer network that runs the Nasdaq Stock Market has been penetrated by hackers multiple times during the past year, according to a newspaper report.

The Wall Street Journal reported on its website late Friday that federal investigators are trying to identify the perpetrators and their motive.

People familiar with the investigation say the exchange's trading platform, the system which executes trades, was not compromised, according to the report.

A person involved in the Nasdaq investigation told the newspaper that so far the perpetrators "appear to have just been looking around."

Nasdaq officials declined to comment. A telephone message left with the FBI's office in New York was not immediately returned.

Possible motives include financial gain, theft of trade secrets or a national security threat designed to damage the exchange, the newspaper said.

The Secret Service initiated the probe involving New York-based Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. last year. White House officials also have been informed.

Investigators have not yet been able to track the cyber break-ins to any specific individual or country, but people with knowledge of the case told the newspaper some evidence points to Russia. However, they point out that hackers could be just using Russia as a conduit.

In 1999, a group of hackers calling itself "United Loan Gunmen" infiltrated the computer that runs the websites for Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange.

The hackers left a taunting message and also claimed to have briefly created for itself an e-mail account on Nasdaq's computer system, suggesting a broader breach in security. But at the time, Nasdaq officials said there was no evidence they manipulated financial data.

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