FBI: Our Economic Data Is at Risk

Flaw in system could allow hackers to access 'black box'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2013 9:56 AM CDT
FBI: Our Economic Data Is at Risk

The FBI has found "a number of operational vulnerabilities" in the system the government uses to protect sensitive economic information, the Wall Street Journal reports. As part of its long-running attempt to figure out what's behind the suspicious trading activity that often precedes major economic news, the bureau looked into a flaw in the "black box" system that lets the media see the info early. Media companies hook up to these "black boxes," which then ensure that all their reports drop at the same time.

Last year, Bloomberg noticed that there were several ways to subvert the system, and reported them. The FBI soon validated its findings, and in the process, it also found other flaws—including such simple tricks as turning off the power to the black box when no one is looking, or routing around the boxes with a hidden phone. It's unclear if anyone's actually done any of this, but the FBI is warning government agencies to be on the lookout for "concealed IT devices." (Read more insider trading stories.)

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