As reported by Zix in June, the SEC has been investigating an ongoing cyber-attack by a sophisticated group, based in the U.S. and Europe, against publicly traded companies in order to beat the stock market. According to the indictment, filed in New Jersey today, from early 2010 until the present the group hacked into computer networks of three newswire companies to steal confidential press releases ahead of their official public release dates to gain “material nonpublic information.” This meant that the group was able to make trades in stocks ahead of public announcements, thus fraudulently netting over $30 million. As reported by the BBC, the FBI confirms that five of the individuals residing in the U.S. have been taken into custody this morning. According to the indictment, the group accessed more than 150,000 press releases in a scheme similar to one in 2005 except that today’s indictment is for a far broader scheme than anything previously detected by U.S. authorities. What is most concerning about this and other similar cases is that sensitive information, “material nonpublic information,” has been passing between major U.S. companies, news-wire companies and other parties in unsecured ways. Here at Zix, we often hear about press release drafts, earnings scripts, PowerPoint presentations and emails between auditors, board members and consultants being sent in clear-text. With the help of Kevin Mitnick, we’ve demonstrated that emails can be intercepted in man-in-the-middle attacks so that unencrypted emails can be read by criminals in real time. The same applies to press releases emailed by companies to their public relations agencies and press-release wire companies. Zix, the nation’s leader in email data protection, provides a number of email encryption solutions that prevent intercepted emails from being read. Utilizing AES256 encryption in a Community of Trust, plus our groundbreaking BMOD method for secure delivery to anyone, Zix Email Encryption gives public corporations (as well as government agencies, large private companies and SMBs) the means to keep their email - including email on mobile devices – secure. For more information on Zix reliable security solutions, click here.