Computer virus forces suspension of Russian stock exchange

February 03, 2006 Sophos Press Release
The virus incident caused the Russian Stock Exchange to be suspended
The virus incident caused the Russian Stock Exchange to be suspended.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have reminded organizations of the threat posed by malware as news breaks that the main Russian stock exchange was suspended because of a computer virus.

The virus, which has not been named, is said to have hit late on 2 February, infecting an internet-connected computer and generating a large amount of outgoing email traffic. Legitimate incoming and outcoming email was interrupted by the virus's activities.

"On February 2, 2006, a computer virus attack forced a suspension of trading on the RTS FORTS futures market, classic market and the stock exchange," the Russian Trading System stock exchange said in a statement.

"While all the world was in a frenzy over the Nyxem damp squib, this attack infiltrated the RTS and could have potentially given hackers access to their systems," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "A virus which can disrupt a stock exchange can have obvious financial consequences, as well as harm the important credibility of an institution in the public's eye, and this should act as a wake-up call for any business which is not taking the virus threat seriously."

Trading has now resumed at the stock exchange, and experts claim that no data at the exchange has been stolen.

Sophos recommends companies protect their email with a consolidated solution to thwart the virus, spyware and spam threats as well as secure their desktop and servers with automatically updated anti-virus protection.