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Three Chinese nationals to face charges over US law firm hack

By Kathryn Higgins

03 January 2017 at 11:02 BST

The trio pocketed around $4 million in illegal profits after stealing nonpublic information about mergers and acquisitions from two major US firms.

Frank Peters

A US federal indictment unsealed at the end of December has revealed the names of the three Chinese traders who will face charges over last year’s high-profile hack of two major US firms. Iat Hong, Bo Zheng and Hung Chin infiltrated the internal servers of two firms – referred to only as Law Firm 1 and Law Firm 2 – in order to steal information about unannounced M&A deals. The hackers purchased shares in at least five publicly traded companies before the deals were announced, pocketing around $4 million between them as a result.

Partner emails hacked

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara warned that the attack should be a ‘wake-up call’ for law firms on Wall Street and across the United States: ‘You are and will be targets of cyber hacking, because you have information valuable to would-be criminals.’ Many firms are already rushing to shore up their internal cyber defences after it was revealed that the three traders had accessed the sensitive M&A information by infiltrating the email accounts of senior law firm partners. The New York Department of Financial Services has also proposed new cybersecurity rules that would require all banks and insurers to guarantee that their own systems and those of their third-party vendors, such as law firms, are sufficiently protected against cyber-attacks.

Sources: Wall Street Journal; Law.com; Financial Times


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