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February 3, 2014

Exchanges Set to Upgrade SIPs

By Phil Albinus

Operators of exchanges in the U.S. are poised to upgrade the IT infrastructure following an embarrassing outage of the securities information processors inside Nasdaq last August. The Wall Street Journal reports that the SIP will receive a new operating system; the SIP's is currently based on Windows 2003, an OS that is a decade old and may be prone to hackers.

Although people familiar with the IT infrastructure do not blame the old OS for the August outage-which lasted more than three hours-they do concede that the system has been "neglected."

"This is a part of the industry that has not been paid of a lot of attention, even by insiders, for years," William O'Brien, chief executive officer of Direct Edge Holdings, told the Wall Street Journal. "Going forward, we're called to do better. Improving the governance and transparency of how the SIP operates is going to be pivotal." Direct Edge is among the 13 exchanges that sit on committees overseeing the SIPs.

"Designed to avoid another large-scale breakdown, the plan would establish faster backups for a key part of the market's plumbing known as securities information processors, or SIPs, which consolidate the quote and trade data from exchanges before it is displayed to the public," reports the Journal.

In 2011 an FBI investigation into a security breach reportedly revealed that the exchange was an "easy target" as servers were still running on Windows 2003, and had not had security patches installed.

 

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