In an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that hackers had roamed freely inside Nortel’s vast corporate network for over a decade and contributed to the company going bankrupt in 2009.
Indications are that the attacker’s traffic was traced back to China. This came as a result of countless hours poring over log files until the investigators found the needle in the haystack.
According to Brian Shields, a long time Nortel employee and the point person on the investigation, the cyber espionage activities resulted in the exfiltration of technical papers, R&D documents, business plans, emails and other documents. They had full access to very sensitive information about the technology and plans of the company.
This should be used as a case study in corporate cyber espionage and the devastating impact it can have.
Kevin G. Coleman is a long-time security technology executive and former Chief Strategist at Netscape. He is Senior Fellow with the Technolytics Institute, where he provides consulting services on strategic technology and security issues. He writes weekly for Breaking Gov on the topic of cyber intelligence.