Could A Lone Hacker Take Down The Stock Market?

There seems to be a real fear these days of what power a criminal hacker truly holds. Some people really treat these guys as mystical wizards and while the world is starting to get more and more technical this way of looking at hackers is only becoming stronger. This is why you see everything that goes wrong with a computer these days being blamed on a hacker. Sometimes the person is even lying to get out of trouble by saying a hacker caused the trouble. Just recently we saw a politician get caught using Twitter in the wrong way. With his initial defense he said that a hacker was the one who broke into his account and sent the questionable pictures to people. After a week of that story being scrutinized by the media, the congressman had to finally admit that he had lied and that he was the one that had sent the picture. To people who knew about computers the story seemed farfetched. But to the average person they could truly believe that a hacker did something like this and they believed the congressman.

This is why people believe other farfetched stories about hackers as well. For example, a fear that a lot of people have is that a hacker can somehow affect the stock market. While it is possible, it is highly unlikely. In the rest of the article I will explain why this is highly unlikely and what powers today’s modern hackers have and do not have.

Could A Lone Hacker Take Down The Stock Market?

The power of today’s hacker

First of all, when you are talking about a hacker, you have to remember that all hackers are neither in the same class nor the same league as each other. There are both black hat and white hat hackers. That means that there are both good guy and bad guy hackers. There are also hackers who have a different level of skills than other hackers. A hacker that is considered to be a new guy is called a script kiddie. The title script kiddie means that they do not know much about the underlying technology itself and rely on tools that other more experienced hackers create to run their attacks. That brings us to the real hackers. These are people who really understand the technology that they are dealing with and are able to mold it to do what they want it to do. They are able to bypass security protocols by knowing the technology so well that they are able to get around any hindrance.

But just knowing how to get around technology does not mean that you will be able to pull off any attack that you want to. You have to take into account the computing power that they have in place. An attack like going after one of the major exchanges on the stock market would need a lot of computing power to get done. It is doubtful that anyone would be able to pull off an attack like that without the backing of some pretty powerful people. If an attack like that were to happen then the first people that are going to be looked at is not an individual hacker but a country like China who employs a lot of hackers. A single hacker attack on something that is stock market related would most likely consist of going after a single trader or a small trading house. From there they would get the passwords of the person and dump their money into a bank account somewhere. It would not consist of trying to take down the entire system.

We have seen the power of a group of individual hackers from Russia affect a country already. We saw that when Russia hackers attacked the country of Georgia. So a movement of hackers like that could affect the stock market but it would not be one individual hacker as the media would like you to believe. For the most part, when it comes to something big like that you are going to be able to follow the footprints very easily.

When you are talking hackers and how they are being portrayed in the media, you are seeing some sort of mystical beast that cannot be stopped. The truth of the matter is that you have a lot of people who are on the internet who are just good at using the technology. Some are better than others but for the most part they are using their knowledge of the technology to their advantage. The sooner that you stop looking at hackers as some sort of cosmic entity, the sooner that you will be able to protect your personal and economic interests by securing your system properly.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. […] cause these flash crashes. While there is no proof to it yet that does not stop the speculation.If a hacker was able to get into a system like this they could cause all sorts of problems. If it does happen then there is going to be a lot of […]

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