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Exclusive: SEC© hunts hackers who stole corporate emails to trade stocks

Publisher: Reuters
Authors: Sarah Lynch and Joseph Menn

U.S. securities regulators are investigating a group of hackers suspected of breaking into corporate email accounts to steal information to trade on, such as confidential details about mergers, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked at least eight listed companies to provide details of their data breaches, one of the people said. The unusual move by the agency reflects increasing concerns about cyber attacks on U.S. companies and government agencies.

It is an “absolute first” for the SEC© to approach companies about possible breaches in connection with an insider trading probe, said John Reed Stark, a former head of Internet enforcement at the SEC.

“The SEC© is interested because failures in cybersecurity have prompted a dangerous, new method of unlawful insider trading,” said Stark, now a private cybersecurity consultant.

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