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.”