Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cyber attack closes further EU carbon registries

Czech Republic, Greece, Estonia and Poland suspend trading after Czech firm reports theft of 470,000 permits

The fall-out from last week's hacker attack on the Austrian carbon registry has gathered pace today with four more European registries closing their doors after a Czech firm reported the theft of 470,000 carbon permits.

Prague-based Blackstone Global Ventures told news agency Reuters that the permits, known as European Union Allowances (EUAs), had vanished from its account in the Czech Republic. It has reported the disappearance to the Czech authorities.

"We are treating them as stolen," Daniel Butler, the firm's broker told the news agency. "We do know that the first delivery point for the EUAs was Estonia. After that we have no other information."

The Czech registry was closed today until further notice while officials investigate the alleged theft.

The European Commission confirmed that the Greek registry had also ceased trading indefinitely, while Poland and Estonia said their registries were shut.

The nature of the Austrian attack is not yet known, but German, Czech and Romanian companies have all had permits stolen in the past year by a combination of hackers or phishing scams.

Kjersti Ulset, European Carbon Market manager at analyst firm Point Carbon, said more registries could be shut if these attacks are not blocked soon.

"Although such incidents are negligible in terms of actual market impact, they will over time undermine the credibility of carbon trading as a policy measure to reduce emissions in Europe," he said. "Immediate actions to improve the security of EU registries are thus needed."

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