- Last week, four people were charged in a hacking plot that targeted several large U.S. financial institutions between 2012 and 2015.
- The indictment includes 12 victims, including JP Morgan and other financial services companies as well as a financial news organization and software development firms.
- Prosecutors say the case is providing a look into the burgeoning industry of criminal hackers for hire. Ringleaders are accused of hiring hackers to steal data that they then used to help convince investors to buy little-regulated stocks.
The hackers allegedly bought small amounts of companies’ shares, then used stolen email addresses to inform investors to buy into those stocks. When the stock price rose, the hackers would sell off their investment, making a profit.
According to the federal indictments, the perpetrators of the crime did little if any hacking themselves. Instead, they outsourced their technology needs, including rented time on networks of previously compromised personal computers and custom break-ins.
"They clearly had to recruit co-conspirators and have that type of hacker-for-hire," said Austin Berglas, former assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's New York cyber division. "This is the first case where it's that clear of a connection."
“You can find anything you want for an operation. Hackers, servers, software, code writing. They are all available," said Daniel Cohen, who oversees an undercover team at EMC Corp's RSA Security. “Individuals hide their identities even from each other, making infiltration and arrests rare.”