Hacking alert for online stock tradersslug: hack

Local | Yupina Ng 28 Jun 2016

Investors have been warned to be wary of online stock trading as there have been several cases where overseas syndicates have hacked into local accounts.

Police said yesterday they had received 33 cases in the year to last week involving HK$53 million compared with 23 cases for the whole of 2015 involving HK$26.8 million.

Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau detective senior inspector Lester Ip Cheuk-yu said syndicates first set up a stock account in Hong Kong to buy shares. They will then hack another stock account to purchase a large amount of stocks to push up prices, Ip said. The syndicates will then sell the stocks in their own accounts and gain the price difference.

"According to the cases, syndicates target only penny stocks as it is easier for them to control the price," Ip said. "Usually, the syndicates stop when they gain around 30 percent on a certain stock."

Of the 33 cases, 26 were online banking accounts and seven were securities accounts. Four banks and three security trading companies were involved.

Ip said the actual loss had yet to be confirmed. It is also probable that some people gained because of the higher stock prices.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority's operational, technology and treasury risks division head, Brian Lee Wai-man, said he understood that none of the four banks had claimed the money back from customers who gained during the hack.

Those who lost money usually received compensation from the banks, Lee said.

Chief Inspector Rachel Hui Yee-wai said police noticed that an Eastern Europe-based syndicate was involved in last year's cases, in which 20 stock accounts were hacked and controlled in two weeks.

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