As reported by American Public Media:
BOB MOON: An annual hacker convention, known as Black Hat, is now in full swing in Las Vegas. Every year, thousands of hackers, security professionals, and researchers descend on the desert mecca, to show off their latest exploits. As Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports, one researcher plans to give a talk today outlining how easy it would be to hack high frequency trading operations on Wall Street.
STEVE HENN: high frequency traders buy stocks low on one market and sell them for a fraction of a penny more on another.
Computers make all the transactions. Micro-seconds are the difference between making a profit and getting hosed. So in the last few years traders have put their servers in the same secret building with the New York Stock Exchange computers — and they’ve invested big time in building the fastest computers possible. What that means it they have stripped their trading software and hardware down to the bare bones. If these computers were cars there would be seat belts — no roll bars. Minimal security — hacking made easy.