The Great Goldman Black Box Heist | FT Alphaville

The Great Goldman Black Box Heist

There’s a film in here somewhere.

Straight-to-DVD, perhaps. But a film nevertheless.

Sergey Aleynikov, a Russian computer programmer, living in New Jersey and who previously worked for Goldman Sachs,  has been nicked by the FBI after allegedly stealing a batch of proprietary programme trading code from his former employer.  According to the FBI’s affidavit, the code — 32MBs — was transferred from Aleynikov’s Goldman computer to an unnamed file-hosting service based in Europe just before he resigned from his $400,000-a-year job at the beginning of June.

A new employer was promising him a three-fold salary increase to help it “engage in high-volume automated trading…”

Aleynikov appears to have been caught by his “bash history,” which the affidavit helpfully explains as:

“Bash” refers to the Unix-based operating system that the Financial Institution uses to edit and maintain the code related to the Platform and its associated programs. “Bash history” is the most recent series of commands executed by a particular bash user.

The deed was allegedly done in the space of three minutes between 5.21 and 5.24 on the afternoon of June 5.

For what it’s worth, Aleynikov told the cops that he thought he was just accessing “open source” files on which he had worked, and only later realised he had accessed more data than he realised. He’s also denying that he distributed any of Goldman’s proprietary code.

But that hasn’t stopped Zero Hedge going nuts over the matter.

Reuters has plenty of detail, also.

Related links:
The FBI’s complaint against Sergey Aleynikov – Long Room