The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Wall Street Journal and United Airlines all experienced technical errors Wednesday. Each claimed they were internal issues and not cyber attacks.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the errors were not viewed as “the result of any nefarious actor.” Internet hacker group Anonymous denied their involvement on Twitter.
All three technical issues left people wondering if it truly was a coincidence.
“With all these things happening on the same day at the same time, there’s a remote possibility [hackers created the glitches],” said Menachem Brenner, Research Professor of Finance at NYU. Brenner has worked at NYU for the past 35 years and has written over 60 scholarly articles for top finance journals like the Journal of Business.
Despite the odd timing of all three malfunctions, Brenner did not believe it was likely that this was an organized attack.
“There are days where glitches happen two, three times, but they’re not reported because they’re not big companies,” said Brenner. “Other companies glitch all the time; it’s not a big deal.”
The cyber issues won’t greatly affect security or the economy surrounding any of these three companies, according to Brenner. Even the NYSE does not have to fear.
“Luckily for the New York Stock Exchange we have alternate venues to trade. The NYSE accounts for twelve to thirteen percent of the total trade volume. Even if it stops because of technical glitches it won’t affect the system as a whole much because you still have venues like NASDAQ working.”
Brenner said that security systems continuously need monitoring and upgrades, but this event does not mean the current systems in place are poorly designed.
“It’s not a serious problem. [These companies] are so important that they hire the best guys to look after their systems.”
Ultimately Brenner found glitches — even three in one day — to be nothing more than a sign of the times.
“In this era where everything is steadily computerized you expect things to happen,” said Brenner. “[Glitches] are ongoing all the time you learn to live with them.”