December 9, 2016

NASDAQ’s Directors Desk Compromised – Suspicious File Found on Servers

Over the weekend NASDAQ admitted that its Directors Desk platform has been repeatedly hacked for more than a year. However, NASDAQ OMX Group Inc. are assuring everyone that the hackers did not gain access to NASDAQ’s stock trading systems and that no customer data was compromised.

The breach came to light when their security monitoring systems detected suspicious files on their U.S. servers. The subsequent incident investigation determined that the web accessible Directors Desk was affected. NASDAQ then contacted outside cyber forensic firms and U.S. federal law enforcement. Then the files were removed and the rest of their systems checked.

In NASDAQ’s statement they reveal that the U.S. Department of Justice requested that they refrain from making the breach public until, at the earliest, February 14, 2011, in order to facilitate the continuing investigation. However when the story broke in the media they were forced to reveal details of the breach.

Directors Desk provides collaboration tools, calendar & event management and document management to help directors communicate during board meetings and to create and share documents with directors between the scheduled board meetings.

The negative points to the story are of course clear; multiple breaches and insufficient intruder detection systems to notice the breach once it had happened. If there are any good points it is that a) NASDAQ’s security monitoring systems did eventually flag the suspicious file, and b) that NASDAQ had an incident response policy in place which when triggered started the initial investigation and then the subsequent contact with cyber forensic experts and law enforcement agencies.