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US publishing and financial information firm Dow Jones has denied that the target of a recently announced breach was information that could be used for insider trading.
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In October 2015, the company admitted being hit by a data breach believed to have taken place between August 2012 and July 2015.
Announcing the breach, Dow Jones said it was believed to be part of a broader campaign involving a number of other companies.
The firm said the breach appeared to target contact information of current and former subscribers.
Rival Bloomberg subsequently reported that Russian hackers had infiltrated the Dow Jones computer systems in search of information that could be used for insider trading, citing unnamed sources.
The hackers were seeking sensitive information that included stories being prepared for publication, the Bloomberg report said.
In August 2015, US authorities arrested nine suspected insider traders who relied on hackers to steal commercially sensitive corporate information from newswire services.
In theory, hackers could profit by buying or selling shares of companies to be featured in Dow Jones publications, which include The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and MarketWatch.
But Dow Jones has denied the Bloomberg report, saying it has received "no information" from authorities about "any such alleged matter", according to CNN Money.
Responding to news of the Dow Jones breach, Tripwire senior security analyst Ken Westin said fraud is a key driver of data breaches.
“The number of large data breaches we see every day proves the link between these two crimes,” he said.
According to Westin, the rise of underground markets, where hackers and fraudsters engage in commerce with one another, has created a black market economy that generates demand for personal information.
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