A hacker group’s threat to erase the New York Stock Exchange from the Internet proved empty today as the biggest U.S. stock trading venue said its website functioned without interruption.
Users saw occasional delays logging on to NYSE.com in the afternoon, around the time the Anonymous collective said its attack was to begin. The exchange operator said there were no outages and declined to comment on the company’s security measures, Rich Adamonis, a spokesman for New York-based NYSE Euronext, said. Anonymous posted a message on YouTube earlier this month declaring war on the exchange to protest the arrests of Wall Street protesters.
Over the last year, Anonymous and a splinter group known as LulzSec have been involved in a string of high-profile cyber attacks whose targets include the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the television network PBS, Sony Corp., MasterCard Inc. and the websites of governments in Egypt and Tunisia. More than 20 members have been arrested in the U.S. and Europe.
“Is it too early for me to say ‘I told you so?’” someone called AnonNep posted on Twitter at 4:30 p.m. “I just hope to high heaven none of you bloody fools get arrested for this.”
The NYSE.com website, where NYSE publishes corporate information, press releases and trading notices, was running “without interruption” at 4:30 p.m. New York time, Adamonis said in an e-mail. An attack on the NYSE website would have had no effect on trading.
The failed attack could be the result of the time the NYSE security team had to prepare, the weaknesses in the group from the arrests, or both, said E.J. Hilbert, president of Online Intelligence and a former FBI cyber-crime specialist.
“It’s like four 9-pound weaklings running into a Sumo wrestler,” Hilbert said. “If you don’t have enough people behind an event like this, it’s just a spike in traffic as far as NYSE is concerned.”
Earlier this year, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and federal authorities began an investigation into possible computer hacking after “suspicious files” were discovered on its website, which helps board members at corporations it lists communicate. The exchange operator said the issue with its web-based Directors Desk application didn’t impair the trading systems of Nasdaq Stock Market or its other exchanges. The trading platforms operate independently from the company’s “web-facing” services.