Looking for a great deal?
Get ALL THREE of our new thank-you gifts when you donate $120.
This is a limited time offer – so act soon!
BOB MOON: An annual hacker convention, known as Black Hat, is now in full swing in Las Vegas. Every year, thousands of hackers, security professionals, and researchers descend on the desert mecca, to show off their latest exploits.
As Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports, one researcher plans to give a talk today outlining how easy it would be to hack high frequency trading operations on Wall Street.
STEVE HENN: High frequency traders by stocks low on one market and sell them for a fraction of a penny more on another.
JAMES ARLEN: The speed that we are talking about is insanely fast. You start thinking about fast things in your world and you think about things like blinking your eyes.
James Arlen at Push the Stack Consulting says these trades are ten times faster than that.
Computers make all the transactions. Micro-seconds are the difference between making a profit and getting hosed. So in the last few years traders have put their servers in the same secret building with the New York Stock Exchange computers — and they’ve invested big time in building the fastest computers possible. What that means it they have stripped their trading software and hardware down to the bare bones. If these computers were cars there would be seat belts — no roll bars. Minimal security — hacking made easy.
ARLEN: Easy peasy.
And Arlen’s convinced — somewhere who has access to these trading networks is going to try.
In Las Vegas, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.