In a Flash, NYSE Shows Fragility of the System
We got a taste for how fragile our modern world was yesterday, as United Airlines flights were grounded over computer issues and the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading for over three-and-a-half hours. Even The Wall Street Journal’s front page was displaying a 504 error. Gotta love technology. NYSE President Thomas Farley said the suspension of the exchange that handles 20% of the trading stocks in the nation was caused by “a technical issue and, consistent with our regulatory obligations, the decision was made to suspend trading as we worked to identify the cause and resolve it.” Farley continued, “The root cause was determined to be a configuration issue.” It’s the longest delay in the history of the exchange, and we get a vague answer that means almost anything. Apparently, there was a problem with computers in the NYSE database not communicating with each other. Homeland Security said there was no evidence that the glitches were a cyber attack. But this is also the administration on whose watch the Chinese stole the data about virtually every federal employee. This episode most assuredly demonstrates how vulnerable the electronic banking system and securities exchanges are.