Hackers Made $1 Million From a Press Release

The internet has provided hackers with a variety of innovative new ways to commit fraud. One of the latest reports from the New York Times revealed that a recent trading scam focusing on stolen press releases led to the perpetrators earning $1 million in illicit funds through a single stolen press release.

The fact that a single press release would lead to this amount of illegal profit emphasizes the need for businesses to secure all computer systems.

The Million-Dollar Press Release

Similar to many of the biggest hacks reported in the media, the million-dollar press release hack was entirely avoidable. In fact, the New York Times reported that “law enforcement officials said the companies — Business Wire, PR Newswire and Marketwired — often detected the overseas hackers and kicked them out, but the hackers returned time and time again.”

Despite the repeated presence of hackers, these companies didn’t respond to these numerous threats with an appropriate adjustment to security, allowing the same attacks to occur again and again, resulting in a plethora of stolen trade secrets.

In this case, Panera Bread uploaded a release to Marketwired’s news service, including details about their business that suggested a dip in profit due to increased costs, despite stellar sales numbers.

The main perpetrators, Arkadiy Dubovoy, Ivan Turchynov and Leonid Momotok, began their plan to short sell the shares with the knowledge that they would be able to buy them back at a reduced cost, thus making a quick profit from stolen insider information.

Through one press release, after a couple of hours of shorting Panera stock beginning around 2 p.m., the hackers managed to make enough trades that by 4:05pm, when the stock plummeted, they were able to cash in.

Lessons Not Learned

Considering the chorus of media reports that outline all the different hacks that have taken place over the past few years, companies still don’t bother to protect themselves with the basics of computer security, including firewalls, the encryption of files on local and cloud databases and secured data transmission over email and FTP sites.

Strong security also includes details such as limiting employee access to databases and training staff to avoid scams such as phishing attacks. Multi-step authentication, which may include a password as well as answering a question specific to the employee, reduces the amount of damage that takes place due to stolen passwords.

Due to the importance of securing all business operations performed by computers over the internet, more and more businesses are outsourcing their security to firms such as Dynamix Solutions. Ensuring that all the angles are covered prevents vital information, such as a press release, from leaking into the wrong hands.

How Secure is Your Data?

Today, it’s extremely important for companies to ensure that their data is secure. Considering that most people lack the knowledge and time to properly ensure the safety of a company’s data, it’s wise to leave this task to professionals.

At Dynamix Solutions, we help companies small and large protect their digital information from getting into the wrong hands.  We can handle all of the technical set up and back up that you need to confidently keep your business safe, while you can focus on the business itself.  

Learn more about how our IT security services can support your company, or contact us to request a free quote, and start feeling more secure.

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