Hacker jailed for insider trading

asic charges

Australian regulator ASIC announced earlier today that IT consultant Steven Oakes has been sentenced to a total effective sentence of 3 years imprisonment. He will, however, be released after serving 18 months of the term of imprisonment, on his own recognisance to be of good behaviour for 18 months.

The hacker was pleading guilty to a total of 11 charges for insider trading, unauthorised access to data with the intention to commit a serious offence (insider trading) and the alteration of electronic devices required by ASIC.

Mr Oakes hacked into the private computer network of Melbourne-based financial publisher, Port Phillip Publishing (PPP), intercepted and decrypted Wi-Fi data to obtain the network login credentials of PPP staff.

The inside information was used on 70 occasions to buy shares in 52 different companies, before the reports with the buy recommendations were published. He made profits from selling the shares soon after the publication of the reports.

During ASIC’s investigation, ASIC Enforcement officers visited Mr Oakes at his home and required him to immediately produce to the officers particular electronic devices. He, however, failed to produce the devices at that time. When the devices were finally analysed by ASIC digital forensic analysts, they found that Mr Oakes had altered the devices to delete data relating to ASIC’s investigation:

Cathie Armour

Cathie Armour, ASIC

Technology-enabled offending, including cyber-related market misconduct, has been a priority for ASIC’s Enforcement teams. Despite the sophistication of cyber criminals, ASIC can identify and investigate suspicious market activity connected to computer hacking activities, as it did in the case against Mr Oakes. Traders should be aware that ASIC continues to focus on cyber-related offending,’ ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said.

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