A U.S. investigation into a coordinated campaign of Russian hacking into the servers of Dow Jones, as well as those of multiple news organizations, has been going on for over a year according to insiders. Dow Jones has denied the reports, stating, “Since Bloomberg published its article, we have worked hard to establish whether the allegations it contains are correct. To date, we have been unable to find evidence of any such investigation.”
The recent leak alleges similar motives to those of hackers charged by the SEC in August, who were accused of utilizing information from the companies they hacked to conduct insider trading. Russian-speaking hackers inside the Ukraine were charged with accessing over 150,000 press releases prior to their publish dates, which they then used to conduct more than $100 million in trades.
The unpublished press releases were acquired through breaches into such companies as Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and BusinessWire. According to SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White, the case involving the Ukrainian hacks is, “unprecedented in terms of the scope of the hacking at issue; the number of traders involved; the number of securities unlawfully traded; and the amount of profits generated,”
The FBI’s New York spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser confirmed that there was an ongoing investigation into breaches at Dow Jones, while representatives from the Justice Department and SEC declined to comment.
U.S. lawmakers have been citing cases like these as justification for passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which is due to be voted on soon. The bill would allow companies to share users’ information with U.S. government agencies related to cybersecurity threats while at the same time protecting those companies from prosecution related to the potential damages to consumers that resulted from the information sharing.
Critics including Google, Facebook and the Department of Homeland Security contend that the bill will do more harm than good by exposing users’ information to mishandling and breaches of privacy. In previous efforts to pass the legislation Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell un-ironically cited the recent hack into the Office of Personnel Management as reason to entrust the government with further access to citizens’ data.