The websites of the Nasdaq and BATS stock exchanges, together with the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), were offline earlier this week after a hacktivist group with apparent Anonymous ties targeted them with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. But while customers were intermittently unable to use some of the exchanges' websites, all said that their trading systems weren't affected.
The attacks had been previewed the day before they were launched. In a post to Pastebin, a group calling itself "the 'L0NGwave99' cyber group" said Sunday it was going to launch "Operation Digital Tornado" in support of the "99% movement" Monday at 9 a.m. New York time. A later message promised the same for Tuesday.
In addition, on Monday the Stock Exchange of Thialand (SET) said its site was targeted with a DDOS attack. The exchange' site was restored to normal operations on the same day, according the the SET.
"The NASDAQ stock exchange besides a number of U.S. stock markets are going to face some problems and may need maintenance," said the L0NGwave99 statement, which promised to launch DDoS-driven takedowns against www.nasdaq.com, www.batstrading.com (BATS), www.cboe.com (CBOE), and www.ms4x.com (the Miami Stock Exchange).
"Will anybody be able to stop the people?s (sic) storm of seeking justice against the liar and deceptive Capitalism-Liberalism? Soon we will see..." read the group's statement.
The attack purportedly involved members of Anonymous. According to a Tuesday post to "TheAnonMessage" Twitter channel, "#Anonymous, in cooperation with #LONGwave99, have successfully taken down the #NASDAQ website." According to news reports, the BATS and CBOE sites were also only intermittently available, although the Miami Stock Exchange website appears to have remained online.
Nasdaq confirmed Tuesday that some of its public websites, including its nasdaqtrader.com portal for customer communications, had been partially unreachable during the DDoS attacks. "During the past 24 hours, Nasdaq OMX has experienced intermittent service disruptions on our corporate websites," according to a statement released by the company. "We are working with our Internet service providers to resolve these issues."
But Nasdaq emphasized that stock trading had remained unaffected. "The website wasn't hacked, nobody got any information. What they did was try to block access for our users," Nasdaq spokesman Joseph Christinat told Reuters.
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