Security & Fraud

Business Wire Suffered Week-Long Hack

Business Wire has revealed it was the victim of an almost week-long cyberattack.

According to Reuters, the corporate news release distributor, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, said it has been dealing with a “directed and persistent” denial of service (DDoS) meant to disable the service since Jan. 31.

It added that customer information has not been compromised.

“Our website slowed down,” said Neil Hershberg, a senior vice president at Business Wire. “At no point were clients unable to get our releases to us. Our distribution network was totally unaffected by this attack.”

He noted that Business Wire has hired outside firms to help it resolve the security issues but, as far as he knows, law enforcement isn’t involved. The DDoS type of attack involves hackers inundating a website with incoming messages so its systems become overwhelmed, effectively slowing down or stopping legitimate customers from doing business.

Berkshire purchased Business Wire in 2006. Hershberg stated that a majority of Fortune 500 companies use the service, which is based in New York City and San Francisco.

This is not the first time Business Wire has faced a cyberattack. In 2015, more than 40 defendants were charged by U.S. authorities for stealing around 150,000 news releases from Business Wire, as well as its competitors Marketwire and PR Newswire, during a more than five-year period.

The defendants, who faced both criminal and civil charges, would give hackers specific releases to steal. They would then engage in insider trading on nonpublic information within those releases, making more than $100 million in illegal profits. So far, at least five criminal defendants have pleaded guilty in the case.


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