This post is by Jim Horton from Online Public Relations Thoughts
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As PR practitioners we depend on newswires such as PR Newswire and Business Wire to be secure. To learn they were not and hackers walked away with at least $100 million through front running press release information is shocking. But apparently that is the case, as this story reports. It means releases held until after the market closed or before the market opened were being read and acted upon minutes to hours before investors could react. It is not that the newswires were unaware or negligent. They were busily plugging security holes, but they could not keep up with hackers. The Securities and Exchange Commission is well aware of the problem, but the SEC also was compromised. It seems there is no good way to stop intrusions, especially since they come from outside the US. This might mean practitioners need to revamp way they handle news releases, such as sending them with instructions for immediate publishing to cut down on the time hackers have to react to them. It also might mean practitioners need to find other ways of information dissemination that are less vulnerable. Newswires owe it to their subscribers to tell them what they are doing to enhance security.