Hong Kong Companies Registry website falls victim to glitch as ‘hardware problem’ brings down electronic registration service

Cheryl Arcibal

Hong Kong’s Companies Registry became the second major victim of a technical glitch in the space of a week as a “hardware problem” forced it to suspend its online services for over five hours on Thursday.

The e-Registry, a 24-hour portal that accepts applications for registration of local and non-local companies, was down from 7am to around 12.30pm.

It came just a week after a software problem brought down the derivatives trading platform of Hong Kong stock exchange, which was quickly followed by a hack cyberattack on the bourse operator’s website.

Today’s problem was “not related to any hacking or program bug”, the Companies Registry said in a written reply to queries from the Post. “The hardware problem has been rectified.”

Signage for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing at the Exchange Square complex in Hong Kong in February. Photographer: Bloomberg

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing’s difficulties on September 5 arose from “software issues”, leading to a suspension of derivatives trading, an incident unrelated to hacking. The derivatives transactions were halted from 2pm until the end of the day.

The following day, HKEX announced that it had also suffered a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS), in which hackers overwhelmed the network with massive incoming traffic, slowing down and disrupting its ability to display exchange prices and financial data.

Hong Kong’s exchange operator blames ‘software issues’ for derivatives chaos

Hardware is any physical device attached to the machine, while software is a code or a program installed on a computer’s hard drive.

The outages affecting the websites of HKEX and the Companies Registry highlighted the vulnerability of Hong Kong’s vaunted reputation as one of the world’s best hubs to do business at a time when the city is mired in its worst political crisis, and investor confidence is waning.

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