A “software update” has been blamed for a “system shutdown” which brought trading at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to a grinding halt on Wednesday.
Because the Stock Exchange computer crash occurred on the same day as that of the computer systems of United Airlines, causing massive air traffic disruption for several hours, and the Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) website, there was widespread speculation that the systems had been hacked.
Although United and WSJ have not yet given precise explanations for their crashes both have denied they were the result of hackers or unauthorized use.
The NYSE however today released a statement that said a planned software update was the cause of a system shutdown that stopped trading for more than three hours.
In a statement said “there were communication issues between customer gateways and the trading unit with the new release:. It said the gateways were “not loaded with the proper configuration compatible with the new release.”
The statement said once trading was stopped it “began the process of canceling all open orders, working with customers to reconcile orders and trades, restarting all customer gateways and failing [sic] over to back-up trading units located in our Mahwah, NJ datacenter so trading could be resumed in a normal state. ”
Some experts are saying the WSJ website crashed because of a sudden rush of traffic caused by people looking for answers as to why the NYSE had stopped trading.
The WSJ site came back on a few hours after crashing in a very basic and bare bones format.
Computer and cybersecurity experts said all three organizations affected on Wednesday relied on massive computer systems with complex automated software with millions of lines of computer code. They said it would only take one error such as misplaced test to bring them crashing down.
Cybersecurity expert Joshua Corman summed it up by saying “Increased dependence on undependable things allows for cascading failures”.