Hackers say Wall Street traders are vulnerable

Steve Henn Aug 4, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Hackers say Wall Street traders are vulnerable

Steve Henn Aug 4, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

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.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.

Latest Episodes From Our Shows

7:59 AM PDT
9:34
3:00 AM PDT
7:54
7:57 AM PDT
1:50
Sep 21, 2021
26:33
Sep 21, 2021
30:05
Sep 21, 2021
3:40
Aug 26, 2021
34:03