E*Trade is having an outage right now which is causing many investors some major headaches, especially because of the timing. The online trading platform confirmed via its Twitter account that it is having some kind of outage and that they are working to restore full access.
Fed minutes to release soon
One of the reasons E*Trade users may especially want to conduct some time sensitive trades is because the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting are due out soon. Investors have been watching for signs that tapering will begin in earnest, and those meeting minutes could provide a clue about that.
Reddit users posted threads about the E*Trade outage, with some even saying that the company's dedicated phone line for Platinum users stopped accepting calls because of "high call option" and did not provide an option for customers to hold and wait.
E*Trade targeted by DDoS attack?
A Twitter account run by a group calling itself 1775 Sec claims to have taken down the E*Trade website in a DDoS attack. One tweet says 1775 Sec itself took down the website, while another says "Thomas Jefferson" did. Not sure about that one as there doesn't appear to be any reports of a hacker group calling itself by the former president's name.
There are some Internet postings (like this one on Pastebin) about 1775 Sec which claim it is a "group of hackers and hacktivist from the internet collective Anonymous." It looks like the tweets from this account might have come out before E*Trade went down, however, this account's users could be nothing but trolls since the exact timing of the site going down is unclear.
At this point though, it is just too early to know that this outage is the result of a denial of service attack as the account is claiming. The other claims on the Twitter account do seem to call this claim into question, as the user claims to have breached Ford's website and compromised its database. There are also numerous tweets about "leaked emails, passwords and phone numbers via Thomas Jefferson" and warnings that "you will not be safe" and "your data will not be safe" and "the Internet will not be safe."
In December 2011, E*Trade was targeted by a hacker group which knocked it offline then.
Scottrade outage earlier
Interestingly enough E*Trade isn't the only online trading company experiencing an outage today. Scottrade went down for some users for a time, according to Twitter reports. However, the E*Trade outage appears to be more serious and widespread. Plus, as already mentioned, these minutes are precious to some traders wanting to complete trades ahead of the Fed's minutes release.