Years ago, I developed a system to analyze stock option prices in real time for the purpose of automated trading. The algorithm was designed to detect overbought and oversold options, and trade ahead of the inevitable market correction.
Although the system worked, it occasionally lost scary amounts of (simulated) money. It seems that some people traded high volumes against the market, buying into options that were already overbought, selling even when the option was oversold. It seemed as if these traders knew something that everyone else didn't. Sure enough, the company would report something surprising, and the market would move in favor of the people who traded ahead of the news.
Ultimately, I abandoned the notition of automated options trading, but not before discovering how well the system could detect insider trading. The options market is subject to all sorts of shenanigans, but it's a pretty good advance indicator of the underlying stock. The more insider trading a company has, the better the algorithm works.
If these Anonymous people are conducting research and detecting public reporting anomalies, the path of maximum profit is to short sell the stock, knowing that the price will fall when the truth finally emerges. Using this method, you instruct your broker to " short sell" 1000 shares of XYZ Corp. The broker "borrows" the shares from someone else's account and sells them. You get the cash and the obligation to return the shares (cover the position) at a some future time. If all goes well, you can keep the position open as long as you like, wait for the stock to fall, and then cover (buy back and return) the borrowed shares at a lower price.
Looks like the hackers found a few cash cows. Good for them!