Intel Investigating Hack of Confidential Financial ReportIncident Forced Intel to Release Results Earlier Than Planned
Intel is investigating an incident in which an unauthorized person accessed a portion of the company's latest quarterly financial report, forcing the chipmaker to release its earnings slightly earlier than planned.
Intel's Chief Financial Officer George Davis told The Financial Times that an attacker accessed the report by hacking into the company's corporate website.
"We are investigating reports that non-authorized access may have been obtained to one graphic in our earnings material. Earlier today [Thursday], once we became aware of these reports, we made the decision to issue our earnings announcement a brief time before the originally scheduled release time," an Intel spokesperson tells Information Security Media Group in an email.
The company intended to release the results at 4 p.m. Eastern time Thursday after the market closed, but opted to make the news public nine minutes earlier after it had discovered the breach, according to published reports.
Neither the graphic involved nor the data it contained was discussed, and Intel declined to release any additional details.
Intel's stock price fell about 9% on Friday. The company sells on the Nasdaq exchange.
Manipulating Press Releases
Obtaining insider information from a press release and using it to buy and sell stocks was the centerpiece of a case in which nine people were charged by the Justice Department in August 2015 with operating an international insider trading and hacking scheme (see: Feds Charge 9 with $30M Insider Trading, Hacking Scheme).
Authorities accused the suspects of stealing 150,000 confidential press releases from three wire services before they were to be published, and then using the information contained in about 800 of those releases for insider trading purposes, earning themselves $30 million in illicit trading profits.
In related charges made at the time, the Securities and Exchange Commission, which calculated the related damages differently, said the scheme resulted in more than $100 million in illegal profit over a five-year period.
Separately, the SEC charged 17 people, located in the United States, Ukraine and Russia, along with 15 corporate entities with the scam (see: Insider Trading Hack: 5 Takeaways).