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13 November 2012, 10:52

Hacker sentenced for cyber attacks on Hong Kong stock exchange

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Scales icon A court in Hong Kong has handed down a nine month jail sentence to a 28-year old man for carrying out cyber attacks on the Hong Kong stock exchange. According to a report in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the court found that the man had gained access to computers with "criminal or dishonest intent". On 12 and 13 August last year, he carried out denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on stock exchange web site HKExnews, which carries stock exchange notices on listed companies. He subsequently penetrated the servers, though for just a few minutes at a time.

A previous report from SCMP says that the attacks had been preceded by two DDoS attacks (with which the convicted man had no connection) on the stock exchange, which had caused seven major companies, including HSBC and Cathay Pacific Airways, to suspend trading in their shares.

According to the SCMP, the judge accepted the defence's argument that the hacker had only accessed stock exchange servers in order to collect screenshots and videos of his DoS attacks. The attacks were apparently aimed at demonstrating the vulnerability of the stock exchange web site in order to market his IT company and an in-house system for protecting against such attacks which it claimed to have developed.

The effects of the cyber attacks were limited to the HKExnews site and did not affect areas such as the trading system. The judge stated that, despite the limited damage caused, the man's actions had been "highly reckless".


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