SEC Official Says His Agency Has Begun New Probe

( According to Reuters, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has begun a new investigation into the Solar Winds hack that took place last year. The probe is expected to focus not so much on the origins of the attack, as other federal agencies are already exploring the likelihood that it was committed by Russian hacking gangs, but more on how many companies may have failed to disclose that they were affected by the hack when it happened.

Two sources familiar with the new investigation revealed the news on Monday, describing how investigative letters were sent out last week by the SEC to public issuers and investment companies. Right now, the commission is requesting that companies work with them on a voluntary basis to provide information about whether or not they were affected by the hack, and if they revealed the information to appropriate authorities.

The investigation is also reportedly looking into whether any public companies were impacted by the hack, whether the hack occurred because of badly managed internal security procedures, and whether any information was hidden.

A spokesperson for Solar Winds, the IT software company that was utilized in a hack of dozens of American businesses and government departments, has not responded to requests for comment about the new investigation, and the press office for the SEC also declined to comment.

It looks like the news about this investigation wasn’t meant to get out quite yet…

Under United States securities law, businesses must disclose material information that may affect their share prices. That includes cyber breaches. If those breaches are not declared when they happen, it could artificially keep the prices high as investors don’t know that the companies are compromised.

It is currently believed that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service and Russian hacking gangs were responsible for the attack, and that the hack may have resulted in private information from hundreds of private businesses and various government agencies being made available to the Russian government.