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Fund Administrator For Fortress, Pimco And Others Suffers Data Breach Through Vendor

A ransomware attack against a vendor of SEI Investments compromised data from investors. Fund Administrator For Fortress, Pimco And Others Suffers Data Breach Through Vendor

A ransomware attack against a vendor of SEI Investments Co. detected in May exposed the personal information of investors in roughly 100 of the fund administrator’s clients, according to people familiar with the matter.

Angelo Gordon & Co., Graham Capital Management, Fortress Investment Group LLC, Centerbridge Partners and Pacific Investment Management Co. were among the funds whose investors were impacted by the attack, the people said. Some of SEI’s clients notified their investors of the breach earlier this month after SEI told them about the attack.

The attack infiltrated the corporate systems of M.J. Brunner, a Pittsburgh- and Atlanta-based service provider that developed and supports SEI’s investment dashboard and online enrollment portal, the people said. Hackers took files from Brunner that contained user names and emails—and in some cases names, physical addresses and phone numbers—associated with the dashboard, the people said.

A spokeswoman for SEI said the company’s network wasn’t compromised and the attack wasn’t predicated on a vulnerability within its network.

“We take our clients’ security very seriously, and we are working with Brunner, the FBI and our impacted clients to understand the extent to which SEI’s or our clients’ data has been exposed,” she said.

A Brunner spokesman said in a statement its IT staff “detected, and interrupted, a security incident involving some of our corporate systems by an unauthorized actor. We immediately notified the FBI and will continue to work with them through their investigation.”

The attack is the latest in a string of ransomware incidents that have affected the financial-services sector through its suppliers. In March, financial-technology provider Finastra suffered an attack that forced it to temporarily take its systems offline. An attack on Finablr PLC’s foreign-exchange business Travelex in late December shut down its website for weeks, which had a knock-on effect on banks that use its services.

Regulators are growing increasingly concerned about these incidents. On July 10, the Securities and Exchange Commission published a warning that it had seen sophisticated cyberattacks targeting companies it regulates and their third-party suppliers.

Officials from the National Security Agency have warned that vendors and service providers have emerged as popular targets, as successful attacks can yield access to large amounts of sensitive information for a web of clients, or even systems access.

Oaks, Pa.-based SEI is a leading fund administrator that does business with a broad swath of hedge funds and private-equity funds. As of June 30, SEI had $693 billion in client assets under administration and managed or advised on additional assets, according to the company, which also provides investment-management services.

Brunner was asked to pay a ransom but declined, prompting the hackers to post company data online in July, the people said. Investors in funds like those SEI counts as clients include pension funds, endowments and wealthy individuals and families.

Brunner told SEI about the attack in late May, but weeks passed before SEI knew its clients’ information had been breached, people familiar with the matter said.

At least one fund affected by the breach told investors in a letter that information of theirs such as encrypted security questions also may have been accessed. People familiar with an analysis of the attack SEI conducted said they believed no such data was exposed.

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