NYSE hit by 'technical issue,' not breach - while United Airlines and WSJ suffer separate problems

NYSE hit by 'technical issue,' not breach - while United Airlines and WSJ suffer separate problems
NYSE hit by 'technical issue,' not breach - while United Airlines and WSJ suffer separate problems

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) came to a halt Wednesday.

“We're currently experiencing a technical issue that we're working to resolve as quickly as possible,” according to a NYSE statement emailed to SCMagazine.com. “We will be providing further updates as soon as we can, and are doing our utmost to produce a swift resolution, communicate thoroughly and transparently, and ensure a timely and orderly market re-open.”

Following the statement, three tweets were posted to the NYSE Twitter account: “The issue we are experiencing is an internal technical issue and is not the result of a cyber-breach," one said. "We chose to suspend trading on NYSE to avoid problems arising from our technical issue," said another. "NYSE-listed securities continue to trade unaffected on other market centers," the third tweet noted.

Trading came to a halt in New York a little after 11:30 a.m. EST, the AP reported, adding that shares continue to be traded on other exchanges such as Nasdaq.

According to a NYSE market status history website, connectivity issues – reported earlier in the day and seemingly resolved prior to 9:30 a.m. EST – may have impacted certain orders.

An update on the NYSE market status history website confirmed that trading halted in New York at 11:32 a.m. – it said all open orders, including MOC, LOC, and CO have been cancelled and GTCs will remain active when normal market activity resumes. Citing, Sal Arnuk, a principal at Themis Trading, CNBC reported that all electronic trades must be nullified manually. Citing an anonymous trader on the floor of the exchange, The New York Times reported that traders were told that the problem is related to updated software released prior to markets opening on Wednesday.

Later in the day (3.10pm)  a  NYSE spokesperson told SCMagazine.com that trading had resumed.

The Guardian newspaper reported  Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson saying that there was no indication the outage was linked to “nefarious” actors or a cyber-attack, but that law enforcement, SEC and Treasury officials said that although were in close communication with Wall Street nonetheless.

Officials were reproted as saying that there was no reason to believe the technical problem was linked to coincidental problems in United Airlines computer systems, resolved by 10 a.m., and the Wall Street Journal's website which was back up at about 12:20 p.m after a separate problem caused its site to go down.

However, twelve hours before the NYSE stopped trading securities, hacktivist groupAnonymous tweeted, "Wonder if tomorrow is going to be bad for Wall Street ... We can only hope."  But there is no evidence yet to link all the issues.

In fact the problems at each are disimilar, whereas a coordinated hack would tend to exploit the same method and vulnerability. United Airlines temporarily grounded flights due to a problem in the way its own computers speak to each other; the NYSE suspended trading due to an internal "technical issue" in computers at the stock exchange while the Wall St Journal says its computer servers appeared overloaded, causing the site to go down - possibly due to heavy traffic after the New York Stock Exchange shut down.

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