Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Former Goldman Programmer Faces New Charges

Sergey Aleynikov charged with stealing highly confidential software that powers high-frequency trading systems.

A Russian-born computer programmer who formerly worked for Goldman Sachs has rejected a plea deal that would have spared him jail time for allegedly stealing top-secret, high-frequency trading software from the investment firm.

Sergey Aleynikov, 42, was indicted Thursday in New York State criminal court on felony charges of accessing and duplicating "highly confidential" source code from Goldman Sachs, according to the office of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance.

"The code is so highly confidential that it is known in the industry as the firm's 'secret sauce,'" said Vance, in a statement. "Employees who exploit their access to sensitive information should expect to face criminal prosecution in New York State in appropriate cases."

[ A Muslim hacktivist group is targeting U.S. banks. Read more at Muslim Hacktivists Take Credit For U.S. Bank Attack. ]

Aleynikov was previously convicted in federal court on similar charges, but his conviction was overturned by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after he had served a year in jail. Aleynikov's attorney said he plans to seek dismissal of the state charges, which he contends put his client in double jeopardy.

"The precise factual circumstances that underlie these charges have already been fully adjudicated," attorney Kevin Marino told the court, according to Reuters. "There's nothing remotely lawful or constitutional about what's going on … he left Russia for freedom and the American way, and he got Franz Kafka and Goldman Sachs."

Aleynikov holds dual U.S.-Russian citizenship. The programmer joined Goldman Sachs in May 2007 and was paid an annual salary of $400,000, according to records. Formally, he's been charged by Vance's office with one count of unlawful use of secret scientific material, and one count of duplication of computer-related material.

"His job responsibilities included developing and maintaining computer programs used to operate the bank's high-frequency trading systems, which allowed Goldman Sachs traders to make a large volume of trades in securities, commodities, and options," said Vance's office. "Goldman Sachs' programmers created its high-frequency trading system to maintain a competitive advantage."

Aleynikov was first apprehended on the federal charges in 2009, after Goldman Sachs noticed large amounts of data being uploaded from its servers via HTTPS transfers. The uploads, 32 MB in total, were ultimately traced to Aleynikov's workstation, federal authorities charged.

Aleynikov faces up to four years in prison if he is convicted on the state charges.

New York State senior investigative counsel Joanne Y. Li is prosecuting the case under the supervision of assistant district attorney David Szuchman, chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau. Supervising rackets Investigator Robert Muldoon, senior rackets investigator Jason Malone, senior cybercrime analyst Jeremy Apple, and cybercrime analyst Bret Rubin also assisted in the investigation, according to Vance's office.

Web-facing databases have a huge target on their backs. The easy way to secure these databases would be to take them off the Web, but a system that does not serve a business function is worthless to the company. Security pros must figure out ways to secure databases with limited resources while keeping business systems operational. In the Strategies For Protecting Web-Facing Databases report, we recommend several cost-efficient methods. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
PJS880
50%
50%
PJS880,
User Rank: Ninja
10/3/2012 | 8:14:58 PM
re: Former Goldman Programmer Faces New Charges
That is all good and great but what about the double jeopardy factor? Are they the same charges that he was already cleared of or are they completely separate incidents. IT looks like Aleynikov feels that he will get off scott free, or he would have taken the year in prison as compare dot the 4 he could face if convicted. I wonder what Vance meant when he stated Gǣ"Employees who exploit their access to sensitive information should expect to face criminal prosecution in New York State in appropriate cases.", What are appropriate cases?

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
7 Tips for Infosec Pros Considering A Lateral Career Move
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/21/2020
For Mismanaged SOCs, The Price Is Not Right
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
IT 2020: A Look Ahead
Are you ready for the critical changes that will occur in 2020? We've compiled editor insights from the best of our network (Dark Reading, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, ITPro Today and Network Computing) to deliver to you a look at the trends, technologies, and threats that are emerging in the coming year. Download it today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-3154
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
CRLF injection vulnerability in Zend\Mail (Zend_Mail) in Zend Framework before 1.12.12, 2.x before 2.3.8, and 2.4.x before 2.4.1 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary HTTP headers and conduct HTTP response splitting attacks via CRLF sequences in the header of an email.
CVE-2019-17190
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
A Local Privilege Escalation issue was discovered in Avast Secure Browser 76.0.1659.101. The vulnerability is due to an insecure ACL set by the AvastBrowserUpdate.exe (which is running as NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM) when AvastSecureBrowser.exe checks for new updates. When the update check is triggered, the...
CVE-2014-8161
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
PostgreSQL before 9.0.19, 9.1.x before 9.1.15, 9.2.x before 9.2.10, 9.3.x before 9.3.6, and 9.4.x before 9.4.1 allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive column values by triggering constraint violation and then reading the error message.
CVE-2014-9481
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
The Scribunto extension for MediaWiki allows remote attackers to obtain the rollback token and possibly other sensitive information via a crafted module, related to unstripping special page HTML.
CVE-2015-0241
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
The to_char function in PostgreSQL before 9.0.19, 9.1.x before 9.1.15, 9.2.x before 9.2.10, 9.3.x before 9.3.6, and 9.4.x before 9.4.1 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a (1) large number of digits when processing a numeric ...