#CyberFLASH: How Chinese hacking felled telecommunication giant Nortel

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Cyber security adviser Brian Shields sensed something was wrong when he received a message from his manager at North American telecommunications giant Nortel.

An employee in the United Kingdom office had detected that a senior executive in Canada, Brian McFadden, had downloaded the Brit’s work documents from the company server.

It was odd, because the documents were irrelevant to McFadden’s responsibilities. The British employee sent an email to McFadden asking why he wanted the documents.

An email shot back from McFadden: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

As Nortel’s senior adviser for systems security, Shields was called in to investigate. “When I first started looking into it I found that the access was not internal,” says Shields.

“The documents downloaded to the executive’s computer in Ottawa were done through remote access from a site over in China.”

Shields quickly realised that Nortel, at the time one of the world’s biggest ­commercial telecommunications equipment manufacturers, had been the victim of hacking. He traced most of the activity back to Shanghai. It was early 2004.

Upon further investigation, Shields discovered that seven staff accounts had been compromised via remote access.

One of the breached accounts belonged to the company’s then chief executive Frank Dunn.

Read more here

#CyberFLASH: Ex-Nortel staff reverse engineer gadgets for patent violations

Ottawa-based Rockstar suing Google, Samsung and Huawei

On Oct. 31, the two-year-old company filed lawsuits against global tech giants, including Google, Samsung and Huawei. The suits allege they use technology developed and patented by Canada’s one-time tech darling Nortel, but refuse to pay licensing fees.

Rockstar has the rights to Nortel’s legacy, as it owns 4,000 patents developed in Nortel labs. Rockstar’s main goal is to use those patents to make money for its owners: Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Sony and Ericsson.

Critics allege this is a real problem… It’s gumming up the innovation system and it frustrates other companies and stifles innovation and productivity as a whole.” –Jeremy DeBeer, University of Ottawa law professor

Veschi is proud of what he does now, but it’s not the dream he had when he worked for Nortel.

“My hope was to build a business like this and be part of the turnaround for Nortel,” said Veschi, whose job was to make Nortel money by licensing the technology in its patents.

 Read more on CBC.ca

Updated: Nortel hacked to pieces

Under mounting pressure to prove China-based hackers had infiltrated the vast global computer network of Nortel Networks Corp. all the way to the chief executive’s terminal, Brian Shields felt he had no choice but to go rogue.

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