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Anthony Malakian, US Editor, WatersTechnology

Not All Attacks Are Hacks

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Were the DoS attacks on Nasdaq and Bats the first wave of a greater assault to come?

I'm in the media, but—call it Schadenfreude—I love it when the media gets something wrong.

A prime example this week was the reported "hacking" of the Nasdaq and Bats exchanges. A hacker is, by Merriam-Webster's definition, a person who illegally gains access toand sometimes tampers with—information in a computer system. Basically, hackers try to get information that is of value to them.

From what I understand, no information was stolen and no trading operations were affected. Rather, the hackers initiated denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on the exchanges' websites. While all hacks are technically attacks, not all attacks are hacks. Got it? Good.

And, quite frankly, there is nothing that a company can do to prevent a DoS attack. They are simply an unwanted side effect of the wonderful World Wide Web.

But what these episodes have proven is that the threat of cyber-crime is a real one. And events like these make board members at hedge funds nervous about the cloud.

The doomsayers are left to wonder whether these DoS attacks represent the first wave in a coming assault—a feeling-out stage, if you will. Or are they simply blips—minor inconveniences without much else at play?

I say this is the first shot across the bow, because it makes for a better story and after all, we journalists have to put up with being labeled hacks of a different sort.

What do you think? As always, shoot me an email at anthony.malakian@incisivemedia.com or give me a call at 646-490-3973.

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