This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced the creation of a new Cyber Unit that will target cyber-related threats that may impact investors. The Cyber Unit, which will be part of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, will seek to combat various types of cyber-related threats including:

  • The manipulation of markets through the spread of false information;
  • Hacking of material nonpublic information;
  • Attacks on blockchain technology and initial coin offerings;
  • Misconduct on the dark web;
  • Intrusions into retail brokerage accounts; and
  • Other cyber threats to trading platforms and other critical market infrastructure.

The creation of the Cyber Unit is the latest in a series of steps taken by the SEC to focus on cybersecurity issues, including the issuance of a recent Risk Alert that examines the cybersecurity policies and procedures of financial institutions it regulates. In announcing the creation of the Cyber Unit, Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, noted the growing importance of combating cyber-related threats and stated that “The Cyber Unit will enhance our ability to detect and investigate cyber threats through increasing expertise in an area of critical national importance.”