KUALA LUMPUR (Nikkei Markets) - Malaysian authorities are investigating suspected a cyberattack that disrupted online stock trading at several local brokerages, the country's communications regulator said Friday.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission is assisting the country's stock exchange operator Bursa Malaysia to investigate the disruption, a spokesperson for the regulator told Nikkei Markets. Trading on Bursa Malaysia however wasn't affected.
A taskforce that includes the Malaysian police and the national cybersecurity agency is currently looking into the problem, the spokesperson added.
The comments come after five dealers told Nikkei Markets their online broking services were disrupted again this morning after similar problems surfaced Wednesday. The disruption, suspected to be a form of distributed denial of service, or DDOS, took down some online trading platform.
A spate of high-profile ransomware attacks between May and June had crippled hundreds of thousands of computers at locations ranging from hospitals to utilities in more than 100 countries in what appears to be the biggest ever online blackmail.
On Wednesday morning, several Malaysian brokers were targeted in coordinated attacks followed by e-mail seeking payment to avoid further attacks, according to people familiar with the matter. Failure to pay will result in increase in ransom as well as further large-scale persistent attacks, the email warned.
"Several of our participating organizations did experience momentary disruption to their online trading platforms due to the DDOS attack," the stock exchange said in an email response to queries on the suspected cyberattack.
However, there was no trading disruption on Bursa Malaysia and transactions were normal throughout July 5, it said. "That said, Bursa Malaysia has in place measures and steps to ensure our infrastructure is protected against any cyberattacks," the company added.
RHB Investment Bank's online trading platform was among those hit, although "the issue has now been resolved," a company spokesperson said.
Banks and stock brokerages outside Malaysia have also been hit by cyberattacks. The Ukrainian central bank said in June that a number of banks in the country were hit by cyberattack. In February, Taiwan Stock Exchange reported attacks against the online trading systems of some local securities houses.
Malaysia's benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI ended 0.6% lower on Friday amid mixed performance across Asian markets.
--Jason Ng and Alexander Winifred