Virus hits LSE website after trading glitch

THE LONDON Stock Exchange (LSE) last night said it hoped for a week of glitch free trading following last week’s high profile closure.

Although it could not promise there would be no problems, it pointed to the successful reinstatement of its trading system on Friday afternoon.

A spokesperson said: “The problem was fixed and the market resumed trading at 12.15pm on Friday.”

The bourse had to close its cash equity markets after an error that morning.

However, the LSE was last night dealing with fresh technology problems. Users of various web browsers were yesterday warned that the exchange’s website contained “malware” – a form of virus that installs itself without permission on a user’s computer.

Apple’s Safari web browser and Google’s Chrome warned of the danger, whilst Firefox users were told the site had been turned into an “attack page”.

An LSE spokesperson blamed an advert displayed on the exchange’s website, posted by an advertising agency. She said the advert contained the virus, and stock exchange users would only have been affected if they had clicked through and away from the site. The advert has since been taken down.

If installed, the virus tells the user the machine is infected and needs anti-virus software to fix the problem.

Netcraft cyber security analyst Paul Mutton, who monitors internet safety for firms including BT and Lloyd’s of London, said: “Malware uses vulnerabilities in the software on your computer to run a piece of code. It pretends to be antivirus software then claims your computer is infected.

“The user is then practically extorted into paying for the malware to fix the artificial problem.”

27 February 2011: LSE website hit by virus hosted in an advert provided by an external agency. Warnings tell users their internet security could be compromised.

25 February 2011: LSE suspends trading at 8.03am after it discovers a “real time data dissemination issue”. Trading opens again four hours later at 12:15, LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet apologises for the glitch.

15 February 2011: A glitch causes trading to run over by 43 seconds. Some prices are displayed incorrectly. The LSE blames vendors of its data for the error.

14 February 2011: LSE migrates to faster Linux based trading technology provided by Millenium IT in an attempt to put past glitches behind it.

11 January 2011: The exchange admits a system crash in November was due to human error rather than sabotage.

5 November 2010: LSE says it will postpone the launch of its Millenium IT trading system following the closure.

2 November 2010: The bourse notifies the police of “suspicious circumstances” following a technical glitch on its Turquoise platform that closed trading.

16 September 2010: The London Stock Exchange buys Sri Lankan trading firm Millenium IT for £18m in order to develop a replacement for its ageing TradElect system.