British government investigating cyber-attack link to 2019 LSE outage
The British government is investigating an outage on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) which happened last year following suspicions it might have been caused by a cyber-attack, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The outage on 16 August 2019 delayed trading by an hour and 40 minutes impacting FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indexes. Dubbed the worst outage the stock exchange had seen in eight years by The Guardian and City AM, it was put down to “ technical software configuration issue following an upgrade of functionality” by LSE officials at the time.
Despite the LSE denying it had anything to do with a cyberattack, the WSJ reports that a British intelligence agency is now probing the incident following “sources familiar with the matter” confirming that the outage immediately triggered government cyber alert systems.
It has also been reported that GCHQ is examining the software code and time stamps to see if these may have played roles in the outage, alongside separate involvement from the UK Treasury.
However, a spokesperson for the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a division of GCHQ, told Yahoo Finance UK following the WSJ report: “The NCSC has not treated the LSE outage as a cybersecurity related incident and has not investigated it as such.”
Whether regulators will take action is unclear, especially now a division of GCHQ has denied any involvement in an investigation.
A spokesperson for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) declined to comment on the incident, but tells City AM: “All regulated firms must have appropriate systems and controls in place to manage operational and technology-related risks and we expect them to report material incidents of this nature to us”.