Authorities Foil 5-Year Scheme of Allegedly Stealing Press Releases Ahead of Corporate News

How two Ukrainians, ages 24 and 27, led an international news hacking ring.

— -- Federal authorities announced today they have foiled a "cutting edge" scheme to hack more than 150,000 press releases and trade in related stocks before news was made public from companies like Panera Bread and Home Depot.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Kelly Currie called the accused an "unholy alliance of shadowy computer hackers and shadowy securities traders."

"The traders used their market sophistication and their experience to decide when and how to exploit the financial information," Currie said.

Thirty-two people were arrested under criminal and civil charges for a "broad-ranging" and "cutting edge" scheme at the "intersection of hacking and securities fraud," U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman said during a news conference today. Fishman said the hackers sometimes used hacking schemes as simple as phishing that targeted newswire employees.

The Department of Justice called it the "largest known computer hacking and securities fraud scheme."

Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White said "the traders were market-savvy" and made moves in options, contracts and stocks. The commission's investigation is ongoing, she said.