Posted tagged ‘hack’

Napkin Notes: Hacking the Rumor Mill

June 10, 2015

It appears that Target inadvertently published a potential notice to the corporate website announcing a $5 billion dollar share buyback and a dividend increase of more than 7%.  Within hours this was pulled from the website without explanation.  My first thought after the media reports and the subsequent deletion by Target without a spokesperson comment was: “they were hacked again.”  It brings back the thoughts of Anonymous and the hackivism defacing of websites.  My next thought was this was a rather sophisticated attack vector.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/09/us-target-buyback-idUSKBN0OP2BX20150609

There is an interesting degree of market manipulation that could be had here.  For those that think it is a stretch, look at the “bid” by PTG Capital Partners, a non-existant US publically traded company, that filed an SEC letter to purchase Avon for three times its market value.   This increased the stock price of Avon almost 20% on this errant news before the market unwound itself. 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/15/us-avon-prdcts-m-a-ptg-idUSKBN0O029Q20150515

Time will tell if the latter were a case of fraud through stock price manipulation or a probing attack by a third party. What is certain is that the fusing of a target’s common business practices with cyber attacks exploits new opportunities.