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Attacks/Breaches

DuPont Alleges Second Insider Breach In Two Years

Chemical giant claims former employee was headed to China with company secrets

Just two years after discovering an insider breach that might have cost it $400 million, DuPont is alleging theft of trade secrets by another one of its employees

According to an article in DuPont's home state of Delaware, DuPont has filed a lawsuit against -- and fired -- a Chinese-born employee who was allegedly about to leave Delaware and return to China with company trade secrets.

The suit, filed in late August in the Delaware Court of Chancery, accuses Hong Meng of breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets -- specifically, research into a paper-thin computer display technology called an "organic light-emitting diode," or OLED.

The suit alleges Meng was planning to take the proprietary information to his alma mater, Peking University in Beijing, which is involved in research on OLED technology, the report says.

DuPont issued a brief statement Friday, indicating Meng, a Chinese national with permanent residency status in the United States, was fired after an internal investigation, and the lawsuit was filed "to ensure that he not use or disclose DuPont trade secrets," according to the report.

"As a science company, DuPont acts to protect our unique and confidential technologies," the statement said. "These events underscore our unwavering commitment to protect the integrity of our proprietary science and technology for the benefit of DuPont shareholders, employees and customers."

DuPont says it spotted Meng's actions when it reviewed his hard drive prior to transferring him to China. Meng had downloaded a number of proprietary files about the OLED, the company alleges.

The chemical giant faced a similar problem two years ago, when former employee Gary Min was found to be in possession of thousands of files relating to the company's trade secrets. The estimated value of the information was assessed at around $400 million.

In that case, Min -- who also has ties to China -- downloaded thousands of documents without authorization from company systems. He also made paper copies of thousands more documents and stored them in an apartment he had rented for that purpose.

Min received a sentence of 18 months in jail and a $30,000 fine.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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