Hackers targeting the Hong Kong stock exchange have managed to do enough damage to force them to close afternoon trading for seven listed companies. The attack targeted the news section of the stock exchange and managed to severely disrupt day-to-day activities.
The news website, which publishes companies’ regulatory filings, started going down at noon, however according to Hong Kong stock exchange representative, the trading part of the website had not been breached. The stop in trading that affected HSBC, Cathay Pacific Airways and the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, which runs the stock exchange, was a necessary measure as all had released price-sensitive information earlier in the day. As the fresh news could not be accessed, it was safer to end the afternoon trading for the seven companies.
“Our current assessment is that this is a result of a malicious attack by outside hacking,” said Charlies Li, chief executive of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing.
The partially closed trading session affected stocks that made up 18% of the Hang Seng index’s weight. Moreover, this is a historic first – the first time the Hong Kong stock exchange has to suspend trading for technical reasons.