Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) would like to provide further information on the disruption of service to the HKExnews website yesterday (10 August 2011).
Since the interruption, HKEx’s Information Technology team has been working closely with local and overseas security experts to investigate the cause of the attack and restore normal service. In the course of the investigation, it was determined that a mixture of attacking techniques had been deployed to intentionally interrupt the operation of the HKExnews website. The malicious traffic originated from a network of personal computers, the majority of which were based outside Hong Kong.
Experts from the technology vendor supplying HKEx’s intrusion protection technology successfully implemented a filter mechanism to fend off further attacks last night. Today, HKEx is still observing malicious traffic attempting to access the HKExnews website and is continually adjusting and strengthening the filter mechanism.
Engineers are on site today at HKEx’s data centres to provide necessary support for the stable operation of the HKExnews website. HKEx is also in close cooperation with the Technology Crime Division of the Hong Kong police.
In the interim, HKEx has adopted a series of measures to ensure the market functions normally and investors continue to have timely access to announcements by issuers. In view of the risk of possible further organised attacks on a central depository of company disclosures, HKEx will seek to implement a more decentralised model for investors’ access to company announcements. These measures are:
Bulletin Board Service
The Bulletin Board service (www.bulletinboard.hk) will remain in operation. The Bulletin Board contains a list of all documents published by issuers and refers users to the issuers’ websites to view these documents. The website address of the issuers can be found on the Bulletin Board.
In addition, starting from tomorrow (Friday, 12 August), HKEx will publish paid advertisements in selected local newspapers with a list of companies which plan to release results announcements. It is important to note that under this arrangement, and where the listed company has published its results announcement on its website as per Listing Rules requirements, the investing public will have free, equal and timely access to results announcements under the Listing Rules regardless of whether investors can access such announcement on the HKExnews website and the company will not be suspended. This measure will be in place until a further review.
Email and Third-party Portals
HKEx will also send snapshots of the notices of announcements published on the Bulletin Board by email to all Exchange Participants, Clearing Participants, Information Vendors and the media for their publication and further dissemination to clients and the public. HKEx will also post snapshots of this information through agreements with selected portals and other media websites. An announcement will be made shortly once this service commences.
We are also exploring the possibility of selected mass portals publishing all issuer disclosures in parallel with the HKExnews website for public information.
Over the long-term, The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, in consultation with the Listing Committee and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), will explore the feasibility of an enhanced distribution model whereby the transparency of the market relating to issuers’ disclosure will be expanded beyond the HKExnews website.
HKEx takes this incident very seriously and will continue reviewing its procedures, together with the Listing Committee and the SFC, to ensure that investors are protected and the market operates with full transparency.