Russian stock exchange attacked by virus

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Trading on the Russian Stock Exchange was suspended today following an attack on its computer systems by a virus.

According to a statement released by the exchange today the virus disrupted trading on Moscow's Russian Trading System (RTS) stock exchange on Thursday, knocking out trading on all of its three markets between 1:15 a.m. and 2:20 a.m. GMT on Thursday. The RTS said this was a deliberate attack and once the virus had been traced it was fixed.

"The virus got into a computer connected to a test trading system from the internet," RTS Vice President Dmitry Shatsky said in the statement to Reuters.

"The infected computer started generating huge volumes of parasitic traffic, which overloaded the RTS's support routers. The result was that normal traffic - data going into and out of the trading system - was not processed," he said.

Experts said that attention given to the Nyxem worm had meant people had been distracted.

"While all the world was in a frenzy over the damp squib that was Nyxem, this attack infiltrated the RTS and could have potentially given hackers access to their systems," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "A virus which can disrupt a stock exchange can have obvious financial consequences, as well as harm the important credibility of an institution in the public's eye, and this should act as a wake-up call for any business which is not taking the virus threat seriously."

Meanwhile, other experts have noticed that the bagle virus has resurfaced for an attack.

In the last 24 hours email security company SoftScan reported it had stopped over 4,000 email messages containing new Bagle variants.

"This tactic is obviously carefully prepared," says Bo Engelbrechtsen, corporate communications manager of SoftScan. "From previous experience it is evident that someone is trying to target widespread infections of Bagle whilst everyone's attention is diverted to Nyxem, including the anti-virus firms."

"Taking advantage of users that are concentrating on avoiding one infection, only to be caught out by another seems to be his speciality," said Engelbrechtsen.

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