IT contractor sacked after London Stock Exchange network outage

An IT contractor has been suspended after a major network crash brought down parts of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) earlier this week.

The outage was a serious setback for the LSE, which had just recently introduced a new Linux trading platform that helped the exchange improve its trading speeds considerably. Something went wrong on Monday night and Tuesday morning, however, leading to a monumental network crash and a widespread investigation.

It is not clear if the crash was accidental or intentional, but the LSE is not ruling anything out. It has suspended the IT contractor who had access to the data centres and notified both the police and the Financial Services Authority (FSA), suggesting that their could be very serious consequences if this network failure was caused by a disgruntled employee.

In fact, sabotage is on the lips of many people within the stock community. One shareholder told the Financial Times: “There are still probably a few disgruntled individuals who are in the departure lounge at the moment,” commenting on the LSE’s cut of 10 percent of its staff members, which could be the root of the dissatisfaction.

A platform change to open source systems was to be announced on the day of the crash, but the LSE was forced to delay the move until next year due to the problems. This has caused further speculation as to the possible nature of the incident, with an anonymous source telling City AM: “There was an announcement about the platform change planned later the same day. It looks like someone may have been trying to undermine this.”

The LSE said it is conducting an internal investigation, but neither it nor the FSA would comment on whether or not they suspected the outage was intentional. The LSE did reveal that there was “suspicious circumstances” relating to the problem, which is enough to suggest that this was probably not an accident.