Business Wire, the press-release distribution company at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., sought to reassure clients amid allegations that hackers pilfered corporate announcements to enable insider trading.
“We understand your concerns surrounding this week’s federal indictment of a global hacking ring that infiltrated the systems of several newswire services,” Chief Executive Officer Cathy Baron Tamraz wrote Thursday in an e-mail. “We want to reassure you that Business Wire’s systems are safe and secure.”
Federal agents arrested five traders this week, while four others indicted on hacking and securities fraud charges are at large. Hackers allegedly infiltrated computer servers of Business Wire, PRNewswire Association LLC and Marketwired over five years and siphoned more than 150,000 press releases. They included corporate data on earnings that could be used to anticipate stock moves, the U.S. said.
Tamraz told clients that none of the press releases listed in indictments and a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaint were sent via her company. Investigators asked Business Wire about fewer than 85 statements, she said.
The Berkshire unit has said it’s cooperating with authorities and is working with a cybersecurity firm to make sure its systems are safe. Neil Hershberg, a spokesman for Business Wire, confirmed the authenticity of the e-mail.
“Despite our extreme vigilance, today’s reality is that no one today is immune from hacking,” Tamraz wrote. “You can be assured that Business Wire is committed to dedicating the necessary resources to protect your most sensitive information.”
Hackers passed information to associates who allegedly used it to trade shares of dozens of companies, including Panera Bread Co., Boeing Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Caterpillar Inc. and Oracle Corp., U.S. officials said.