London Stock Exchange may have been taken down by cyberattack

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

An outage that affected the London Stock Exchange last year may have been caused by a cyberattack, reports have claimed.

The Wall Street Journal has claimed that last year's downtime could be down to something far more serious than initially thought, with the possibilty that criminal forces looked to affect financial transactions occuring on the LSE.

The UK's GCHQ intelligence agency has now been called in to investigate the outage, which took the exchange offline for around an hour and a half on August 16th, with the UK Treasury also involved.


The WSJ, which quotes several people familiar with the incident, says that the outage was initially blamed on a software update gone wrong. The LSE systems were apparently in the process of a software update when the incident happened, which reportedly left the platform open to attack.

The LSE outsources software development and updates to a third-party company, which may also have been another possible security vulnerability. GCHQ is now looking at the code associated with the incident to ascertain the possible causes of the outage, and whether suspicious activity can be detected.

The outage meant that securities on markets including the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 could not be traded for some time, raisng the possibility of financial irregularities or criminal activity.

A spokesperson for the LSE told the WSJ that the outage was due to a "technical software configuration issue following an upgrade of functionality" that occured following an upgrade, and that the exchange had "thoroughly investigated the root cause of the issue to mitigate against any future incidents”.

Via Wall Street Journal

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.