Feeds

Pump and dump scam hacker banged up

US stock market manipulated by Asian crackers

SANS - Survey on application security programs

An Indian man convicted of hacking into internet brokerage accounts to manipulate stock prices has been jailed in the US for two years.

Thirugnanam Ramanathan, 35, originally of Chennai, India, broke into customer investment accounts held with brokerages including TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and E*Trade. He dumped existing holdings and used the funds to buy lightly-traded stock, thereby increasing its price.

Prior to the move, Ramanathan and his alleged accomplices had bought stock in the same little regarded firms, allowing them to sell the shares at a tidy profit after its value had been artificially inflated. At least 60 customers with nine US brokerage firms fell victim to the scam, which operated between February and December 2006.

Ramanathan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, computer fraud and aggravated identity theft over the scam back in June. At a sentencing hearing before US District Judge Laurie Smith Camp, he was ordered to pay restitution of $362,000 and to serve three years on probation in addition to his main sentence of two years behind bars.

Conventional pump and dump scams rely on attempting to trick would-be investors into pumping money into essentially worthless stock on the basis of false rumours spread using spam email. The scam orchestrated by Ramanathan is more sophisticated because it involved an element of hacking.

Ramanathan was cuffed in Hong Kong, and extradited following an FBI investigation that traced one of the instances of stock manipulation back to an IP address used by a Bangkok Hotel he was staying in at the time. Two other suspects - named as Jaisankar Marimuthu, 33, and Chockalingham Ramanathan, 34 - have also been charged (pdf). Marimuthu is awaiting extradition from Hong Kong while Ramanathan remains at large.

More background on the case can be found in a US Department of Justice press release here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.