A Melbourne hacker has been sentenced to three years in prison for using stolen information to make trades on the stock market.
Between 2012 and 2016, IT consultant Steven Oakes sat near the Wi-Fi network of financial publisher Port Philip Publishing and used hacking software to access login credentials of the publisher’s staff.
Oakes accessed unpublished stock recommendation reports and purchased shares in 52 different companies based on that information.
After Port Philip Publishing’s recommendations were published, the companies’ share prices rose, and Oakes sold his stocks for a profit.
ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said the corporate regulator was continuing to focus on cyber crime.
“Technology-enabled offending, including cyber-related market misconduct, has been a priority for ASIC’s Enforcement teams,” Armour said.
“Despite the sophistication of cyber criminals, ASIC can identify and investigate suspicious market activity connected to computer hacking activities, as it did in the case against Mr Oakes.”
When ASIC began investigating Oakes’ trading activity, ASIC enforcement officers knocked on his door and served him with a compulsory notice to produce electronic devices – which he initially failed to do.
At a later, Oakes provided the electronic devices.
ASIC then conducted forensic analysis on Oakes’ devices and found he had deleted data relating to the investigation.
In July last year, Oakes pleaded guilty to one charge of unauthorised access to data, eight charges of insider trading, and one charge of destroying or altering records required by ASIC.
The sentencing judge, Her Honour Judge Fox, said Oakes was “motivated by greed”.
“Insider trading is a form of cheating. It is not a victimless crime,” Fox said.
“If you access a secure computer network to commit a crime, you should expect to go to jail.”