Monday, April 16, 2018

A Tale of Corporate Espionage in Silicon Valley

...The computer that was funneling information, therefore, didn’t register on the roster of machines controlled and owned by the I.T. department. This left the security team with one definitively old-school option: they literally followed the wire that ran from the server to the rogue computer.

One by one, they plucked up the tiles in the server room, followed the Cat-5 cable as it swam alongside hundreds of other cables, inside the walls, past yellow and white power wires, and through the labyrinthine office, until they found themselves at the end of the cord, which terminated inside a small closet. There, seated behind a laptop, was a young Chinese woman.

The security specialists searched her personal computer and immediately discovered more than 30 pieces of malware that were funneling information out of the servers and back to dozens of computers in China....

Spies and corporate espionage are a fixture of Silicon Valley. Employees at companies from Twitter to SpaceX have privately told me they suspect spooks work within their walls, stealing corporate secrets, plans for new technologies, or entire servers full of code to replicate back home...

The C.E.O. of one of the big tech companies in Silicon Valley once confided in me that not only was there “no question” that Russian and Chinese agents worked at the company, but that it was impossible to know who they were or prove that they were indeed foreign agents. more