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The Wall Street Journal reports that NASDAQ network systems have been breached by hackers on multiple occasions over the last year.
Officials state that the platform responsible for executing trades was not compromised, though they could not specify exactly which systems were involved in the unauthorized access.
The intruders did not appear to have done any immediate damage to systems, and sources familiar with the incidents speculate that the hackers were merely doing some network reconnaissance.
"Many sophisticated hackers don't immediately try to monetize the situation; they oftentimes do what's called local information gathering, almost like collecting intelligence, to ascertain what would be the best way in the long term to monetize their presence," said Tom Kellermann, a former security official with the World Bank.
Investigators are examining the potential threats posed by the incident, including theft of trade secrets, the potential for market manipulation, and the possibility of terrorist attacks against financial systems.
"The Nasdaq situation has set off alarms within the government because of the exchange's critical role, which officials put right up with power companies and air-traffic-control operations, all part of the nation's basic infrastructure," the WSJ reports.
Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service are reportedly investigating the system breach and are seeking to identify the perpetrators.