New SEC Cyber Unit Will Target ICOs

Blockchain, Crime, ICO News, Investing, News, Regulation | September 26, 2017 By:

The US Securities and Exchange Commission announced a new “Cyber Unit” today that will tackle online threats. Among the initiatives is additional scrutiny for initial coin offerings.

The announcement comes after the embarrassing revelation last week that hackers penetrated the SEC databanks in 2016, potentially compromising sensitive information and trading publicly on it.

Today’s announcement said the new Cyber Unit will address “cyber-based threats and protect retail investors” by creating a . “retail strategy task force that will implement initiatives that directly affect retail investors.” The new unit will allegedly build on the Enforcement Division’s initiatives.

Among the targets of the new unit:

  • Market manipulation schemes involving false information spread through electronic and social media
  • Hacking to obtain material nonpublic information
  • Violations involving distributed ledger technology and initial coin offerings
  • Misconduct perpetrated using the dark web
  • Intrusions into retail brokerage accounts
  • Cyber-related threats to trading platforms and other critical market infrastructure

“Cyber-related threats and misconduct are among the greatest risks facing investors and the securities industry,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.  “The Cyber Unit will enhance our ability to detect and investigate cyber threats through increasing expertise in an area of critical national importance.”

Robert A. Cohen has been appointed Chief of the Cyber Unit.  Since 2015, he and Joseph Sansone have been Co-Chiefs of the Market Abuse Unit.  Sansone will continue to lead the Market Abuse Unit as its Chief.

 “When Stephanie and Steve approached me with these initiatives, I endorsed them wholeheartedly.  They reflect the division’s continual efforts to pursue new forms of misconduct while keeping a watchful eye out for our Main Street investors,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.