In a statement published on the Securities and Exchange Commission's website yesterday, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton revealed that the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system was compromised a year ago.
Warner said he'd press SEC Chairman Jay Clayton on the agency's rules dictating when companies must report data breaches when he appears before the Banking panel next week. He did not provide many details about the breach or the extent of any illegal trading.
"Cybersecurity is critical to the operations of our markets and the risks are significant and, in many cases, systemic", he said. "Given the cryptic release from the SEC it is impossible to know the extent of the intrusion from May 2016 until almost a year later, but one has to assume if these private files are all controlled through EDGAR they are in the zone of likely information to have been targeted and exfiltrated".
Clayton said that the SEC has experienced cybersecurity vulnerabilities before, including an incident in 2014 when the inspector general found that certain SEC laptops that may have contained nonpublic information could not be located, and found instances in which SEC employees transmitted nonpublic information through nonsecure personal email accounts. But it wasn't until last month that the agency concluded the cybercriminals involved may have used their bounty to make illicit trades.
The software vulnerability was patched after discovery, according to Clayton.
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The hack of an aspect of the SEC's Edgar filing system occurred in 2016, the regulator said in a statement.
An investigation into the breach and its possible consequences is ongoing, and the SEC said that it is cooperating with the "appropriate authorities".
The latest announcement could hamper the SEC's efforts to collect more detailed information about stock trades into a central database that could make it easier for the agency to detect market manipulation. "However, in light of the intense public interest and the potential impact of this matter, I can confirm that FTC staff is investigating the Equifax data breach".
"We believe the intrusion did not result in unauthorised access to personally identifiable information, jeopardise the operations of the commission or result in systemic risk".
Such attacks undermine confidence in financial markets and can create risks for investors and consumers, the SEC said. "We must be vigilant".