Cyber Security Stocks Surge, NYSE Resumes Trading Following Unexplained ‘Technical Issue’

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AFP/Kena Bentacur)

As of 3:10 Eastern time, trading has resumed on the New York Stock Exchange, after officials fixed what they called an “internal technical issue.” Trading halted around 11:30, meaning that the largest American stock exchange went without trading for nearly four hours.

Other stock exchanges, such as NASDAQ and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, continued to operate. On those markets, cyber-security stocks surged in response to the problems on the NYSE. Most of those firms provide services meant to protect companies from cyber-attacks.

Although the some speculated that the shutdown was a part of a coordinated cyber-attack, the NYSE was quick to explain that this was not the case.

“We’re currently experiencing a technical issue that we’re working to resolve as quickly as possible. We will be providing further updates as soon as we can, and are doing our utmost to produce a swift resolution, communicate thoroughly and transparently, and ensure a timely and orderly market re-open,” spokesmen for NYSE said.

United Airlines also experienced technical issues today. The problem with United’s computers meant that many flights were grounded earlier. United explained that it was not the victim of a cyber-attack, either, but rather “network connectivity issues” were at fault.

Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson went on the record to quell fears about cyber-attacks.

“It appears the malfunctions from United and New York Stock Exchange were not the result of any nefarious actor,” he said.

Although none of today’s high-profile technological problems were caused by cyber-terrorists or foreign hackers, some in the media suggested that today’s issues are similar to those that may be experienced in a cyber-attack situation.

“In the world we live in now — we’re talking about an airline and major stock exchange — having major computer problems should make people nervous,” Babson College professor and former NYSE economist Michael Goldstein said.

The United States has never been the victim of a major cyber-attack that has disrupted normal economic activity, like today’s glitches did. However, with countries like Russia and China growing their cyber-warfare teams, there is reason to be worried.

“While I can’t go into detail here, the Russian cyber threat is more severe than we had previously assessed,” director of national security James Clapper told a Senate committee in March.

The report he presented then suggested that threats from rival nations are quite serious and demand attention from the United States government.

“Cyber threats to U.S. national and economic security are increasing in size, scale, frequency, and impact,” the report read.

Earlier this summer, the federal Office of Personnel Management announced that they had been the victims of a massive cyber breach, likely executed by Chinese hackers. Data from millions of federal employees was stolen