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Businesses Crime

Wall Street Traders Charged With Copying Code To Start Their Own Company 145

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the awesome-business-plans dept.
coondoggie writes "Talk about starting a business on shaky ground. The Manhattan District Attorney's office says former Wall Street traders stole electronic trading source code and data from their then trading firm in an effort to start up their own financial business." Sending yourself pilfered code through your company email account is probably not the wisest plan.
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Wall Street Traders Charged With Copying Code To Start Their Own Company

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  • by gweihir (88907) on Monday August 26, 2013 @07:00PM (#44681323)

    But it explains why the stole the code: They obviously do not have what it takes to write their own....

    Side note: I have worked with some pretty locked down notebooks from jobs at customer-sites, and there was always an easy and untraceable way to export data, and I did not even try hard. Only exception so far is a job my boss did where he was not allowed to remove the computer from a locked room and had to leave all his own electronics outside. Of course I only ever used it to export data that I would be allowed to export anyways (but where that would be painful in the official way), or not at all (stumbled over it by accident, just copied a few freshly created test-files). But basically, if you have access to the physical hardware, can take it home and can boot it up, run software and write simple code (shell-scripts/word macros are quite enough), you have won, no matter how locked down the thing is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 26, 2013 @07:16PM (#44681453)

    The place I used to work for was re-engineering the C++ Source code of their biggest client, rewriting it into Java, and calling it their own... It was basically an improved rip off of the customer's system, that the customer had paid them to develop in the first place. In my view, they where stealing their own best customer's intellectual property.

    When I found out about it I asked "Can you legally DO that?" They insisted that it was fine... I didn't last 3 more months there and ended up quitting in the midst of a huge office blowup. I should have known a lot sooner it would not end well. Had I quit sooner I might have not needed to hire a lawyer to defend myself from their lawsuit against me. (Which they didn't win.) They eventually went into business that competed directly with their customer.

    Some people have no ethics or morals. Many don't get caught, some do. Where I was able to prove they broke the law in their dealings with me, they never got caught by their best customer to my knowledge. I'm just LUCKY not to work there anymore. Those guys where NOT people you want to work for...

  • by slick7 (1703596) on Monday August 26, 2013 @07:17PM (#44681455)

    ...because people on Wall Street seem to be above the law.

    No they are not. Madoff, Millikan, Skilling, Fastow. These people are convicts, no passports legally, no firearms legally. I would like to see the CONgressMAN who would do business with them, you know, the one's that go to prison themselves.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday August 26, 2013 @07:43PM (#44681617)

    That's because they aren't trying all that hard. I once thought security at a place I worked was lax because of several reason I took to the security director. He then explained to me that security in a corporate sense is not about securing anything. It's about shifting responsibility away from your employer. For example, your company has a large customer contact list. Is this really important or secret data? No. You don't want it just laying about but if it did get swiped it's not that terrible. But you're under legal and civil obligation to "Secure" it. So, instead of going through a multi-million dollar project to protect this data you really don't give a crap about you farm it out to the lowest bidder. Some off-site place that will store it for you. If they screw it up and the data gets stolen, they and their insurer pay up. You blame the event on them. Etc... You're legally and financially off the hook.

    For things that we really needed secure, there were locked cages, palm prints, 30 digit passwords and key cards. There was no taking that information off site. Period. Data was encrypted at rest, the OS was a custom build. Not only would you have to decrypt it you'd be working in a strange environment devoid of all sorts of basic utilities that would make your life difficult. You can make things secure. It's just a real pain in the ass to do so.

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Monday August 26, 2013 @08:06PM (#44681711) Homepage Journal

    The problem is that most trading firm code is actually Open Source software that was ripped off in the first place.

    Proprietary? Um, no.

    Never believe an exec at a trading firm. Ever.

  • by ottothecow (600101) on Monday August 26, 2013 @09:33PM (#44682111) Homepage
    Yeah, this is pretty much just a story of idiots.

    I have a friend who used to work for a prop trading firm and it sounds like this was par for the course. You trade based on a model...lots of traders are working it from different angles, so while it is guiding your actions, you don't actually know how it works inside. If you stick around long enough and work enough different desks, you might start to get an idea of how it works and if you become important enough, you might actually be told how it works (or help improve it).

    Where did that model come from? Your bosses probably stole it from the trading firm they used to work at (where they stuck around long enough to get the model and get enough capital to seed a new trading firm). They probably didn't steal any actual source code, but they took the proprietary model and hired some new programmers (or took some of the original programmers) and had them recreate a version for their new firm. Its a trade secret, so it doesn't have protection like copyright or patents (but it lasts forever if you can keep it secret). Barring NDAs and noncompete clauses, you can't do anything if somebody copies your model and starts trading on it...so the mistake these guys made was that they stole actual code instead of just figuring out the algorithm and re-implementing it.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday August 26, 2013 @09:35PM (#44682121) Homepage

    Yes they are: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, HSBC, and a few others were prosecuted for multiple massive felonies, and settled out of court for a fraction of the profits from their crimes with no admission of guilt, after which the "Justice" Department dropped the cases against them. The people who were responsible for those crimes were never even prosecuted, much less sent to jail.

    And we're not talking small-time crimes here. For example, HSBC was nailed for laundering $2 billion worth of drug money. All of the ones I just mentioned were nailed for approximately 2 million counts of fraudulent mortgage foreclosure documents. Many were guilty of multiple frauds valued in the hundreds of millions. We're talking about organizations that have between them stolen the equivalent of at least 2 million new cars in numerous premeditated and carefully executed schemes. These guys make Al Capone and Pablo Escobar look like a penny-ante operators.

    That's something Occupy Wall Street types and the Tea Party types generally agree on: The bankers responsible for these kinds of criminal schemes need to be in jail for the rest of their natural lives.

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354

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