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ITMG Insider Threat Cases – July 6, 2020

‘Theft Is Not Innovation’; Chinese Tech Executive Convicted of Silicon Valley Industrial Espionage

A federal judge has convicted a Chinese national of economic espionage, stealing trade secrets and engaging in a conspiracy for the benefit of his country’s government. “The defendant plotted with Tianjin University to take trade secrets from two U.S. companies, including his own employer, to China for the benefit of the Chinese Government,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “Today’s guilty verdict on all counts is an important step in holding accountable an individual who robbed his U.S. employer of trade secrets and sought to replicate the company’s technology and replace its market share.” The decision comes five years after Zhang was indicted on charges of conspiring to steal technology from two companies shortly after graduating from the University of Southern California. The trade secrets were heisted from Zhang’s former employer, Skyworks Solutions in Woburn, Massachusetts, and Avago Technlogies, a San Jose company later acquired by chipmaker Broadcom.

Motorola Claims Chinese Rival Stole Wireless Radio Technology

The technology and communications company accused its former distributor, Hytera, of poaching their intellectual property. Radio technology that’s critical to helping utility workers deal with California wildfires is at the heart of a trial that pits an iconic American brand against a Chinese firm accused of corporate espionage. Motorola Solutions Inc. wants a federal jury in Chicago to order its Chinese rival Hytera Communications Corp. to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages over what it claims was stolen know-how related to two-way radios used by utility workers, construction crews, school officials and others. The case is the latest instance of an American company accusing a Chinese firm of stealing ideas or acting on behalf of China’s communist leaders. Huawei Technologies Co. is facing criminal charges that it stole phone-testing information from T-Mobile US Inc. Complaints about theft of intellectual property have been a key issue in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Congress has placed limits on the Defense Department’s use of components from Chinese companies including Huawei and Hytera.

South Korea Charges 11 With Selling Samsung Technology to China

Suspects accused of stealing bendable screen technology. South Korea charged nine people and two companies of illegally selling Samsung Electronics Co.’s bendable screen technology to a Chinese rival. The chief executive officer of a Samsung supplier and eight of his employees received 15.5 billion won (US$13.8 million) after conspiring with two representatives of the Chinese company to transfer organic light-emitting diode knowhow, according to a statement from prosecutors in Suwon. The names of the companies and individuals weren’t disclosed.

Two French ex-spies on trial accused of espionage for China

In a case that could be from a spy thriller, two former French intelligence agents go on trial on Monday accused of having passed on secrets to a foreign power. While French officials have been at pains to avoid releasing details of the affair, the pair are accused of working for China, according to several media reports. Pierre-Marie H. and Henri M. will appear in a special court accused of “delivering information to a foreign power” and “damaging the fundamental interests of the nation”. Both men worked for France’s foreign intelligence service, the DGSE. They face 15 years in prison if convicted.

Coty Accused of Trade Secrets Theft in Kardashian-Jenner Deals

US manufacturer Seed Beauty alleges that recent investments by beauty group threaten its competitive position. A Californian manufacturer of beauty products has filed two lawsuits against Coty and celebrity sisters Kim Kardashian-West and Kylie Jenner, alleging that their recent tie-ups amount to a theft of its trade secrets. The lawsuits come after Coty, and its controlling shareholder JAB Holdings, staked $800m on twin deals with the sisters, betting their influence in the beauty industry will help turn around the lossmaking company that is home to CoverGirl and Max Factor brands. On Monday Coty agreed to buy a 20 per cent stake in Kim Kardashian West’s make-up brand KKW for $200m, building on a $600m investment in November that secured a 51 per cent in Kylie Jenner’s eponymous cosmetics brand. Together the sisters have 359m followers on Instagram.

Defendant in China Wind Turbine Trade Secret Theft Case Sentenced to 3-Year Prison Term

As reported by the Guangdong Higher People’s Court, the People’s Court of Huilai County of Jieyang City sentenced defendant Liu Zhongyan to three years’ imprisonment and 1 million RMB fine for criminal trade secret theft on June 29, 2020.  Liu had stolen trade secrets relating to Mingyang Smart Energy Group Co., Ltd.’s first 7.25 MW offshore wind turbine. Liu was the technical team leader and engineer of a branch of Yuanjing Energy (Jiangsu) Co., Ltd. On February 23, 2019, Liu Zhongyan dressed in a supplier’s uniform and carried a digital camera and tools such as laser range finder.  He then pretended to be a staff of a supplier CRRC and entered the installation site of the MySE7.25 MW wind turbine project of Mingyang Smart Energy Group Co., Ltd. to measure and photograph the internal structure of the unit and related equipment.

An Unfair Advantage: Confronting Organized Intellectual Property Theft

Hongjin Tan had a good job. A Chinese national and U.S. legal permanent resident, he was employed as an associate scientist for a U.S. petroleum company to work with a team developing the next generation of battery technologies for stationary energy storage. But after just over two years at the company, Tan contacted his supervisor on 12 December 2018 to give his two weeks’ notice. Tan said he wanted to return to China because, as an only child, he needed to be there to care for his aging parents. He did not have a job lined up back home but was in negotiations with a few battery companies about a position. After Tan gave his notice, the company—following security procedures—revoked his access to company systems and reviewed his recent computer activity. What it found was concerning.

Insider-related Cybersecurity Incidents in East Africa Increase by 55% in 3 Months

The sudden spike in insider-related cybersecurity incidents in East Africa has resulted from attackers taking advantage of publicly available weak systems. The number of insider-related cybersecurity incidents in East Africa has increased by 55 percent in the last three months as most companies lacking active monitoring of their IT infrastructure transitioned to remote work occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dimension Data, the sudden spike has resulted from attackers taking advantage of publicly available weak systems and most security controls designed to monitor and capture activities failing to keep up as they are intended for traditional on-premise infrastructure thereby leaving security control gaps as more employees remotely connect to company resources from mobile devices and external networks.  The Financial Services Industry (FSI) remains the most targeted sector because of the immediate monetary gain.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 at 9:41 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.