Nortel, February - Major Security Breaches
Though this breach was reported in February, the big news was that the Canadian telecom company had been hacked more than ten years earlier by Chinese spies who had been gleaning information from the company for the entire decade. According to the Wall Street Journal, the hackers obtained passwords from seven top executives and used them to access Nortel servers to grab technical papers, R&D data, emails, plans and other sensitive corporate intellectual property and trade secrets. It’s unclear whether the hackers ever used the information stolen in this long con to build up a telecom company of their own, or sell the data to other interested parties. In 2009 and 2010 Nortel spun off various business units to Avaya and other companies but didn’t let on during the acquisition talks whether or not it knew anything about the corporate espionage it was experiencing. This story struck fear into the hearts of IT executives everywhere who were terrified by the possibility of being tracked for years without detecting a breach.