Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

10/16/2009
03:36 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Ex-Ford Engineer Indicted For Allegedly Stealing Company Secrets

Xiang Dong Yu allegedly copied 4,000 sensitive Ford documents onto a USB drive before leaving the company

Yet another major corporation may have been the victim of one of its own stealing trade secrets: A former Ford Motor engineer has been indicted for allegedly stealing thousands of sensitive documents from the company and copying them onto a USB drive before taking a job with another auto company.

Xiang Dong Yu, who also goes by Mike Yu, was arrested Wednesday at Chicago's O'Hare Airport after returning from a trip to China, according to published reports. Yu, 47, is charged in an indictment with theft, attempted theft of trade secrets, and unauthorized access to a computer and faces up to 10 years in prison. He currently works for an unnamed competitor to Ford in China.

Yu allegedly copied 4,000 documents that contained Ford design information, including engine and transmission mounting subsystems, electrical distribution systems, doors, mirrors, steering-wheel assemblies, power systems, and wipers. The indictment says he allegedly stole most of the information in December 2006, just before he resigned from his engineering job at Ford to take a position at a company in China. In spring 2008, he allegedly used some of the stolen Ford information while job-hunting in China.

"Employees and employers should be aware that stealing proprietary trade secrets to gain an economic advantage is a serious federal offense that will be prosecuted aggressively," U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg said in a statement.

Employees siphoning their employers' corporate trade secrets onto a USB drive for profit or leverage in another job is nothing new -- similar insider theft incidents occurred at duPont and Intel.

"This problem isn't isolated to Ford," says Brian Cleary, vice president of products and marketing at Aveksa. "There have been other very similar situations where people with a bona fide reason to access this information chose to misuse that access for fraud purposes...The challenge to organizations is understanding where they are introducing access-related business risks."

Cleary says the keys to protecting yourself from a rogue privileged user is ensuring that no one has access to anything they don't need for their job, monitoring their access patterns and activities, revoking privileges users aren't using, and deploying real-time access monitoring for users with access to highly sensitive data.

And while the options for securing USB access were a bit slimmer during Yu's alleged activities three years ago, locking down USB drives is crucial, notes Ben Goodman, principal technical specialist for compliance at Novell. "Having an engineering workstation with access to intellectual property that [would have] let him use CD-Rs or USBs is almost neglect [today], " Goodman says. "There are so many tools out there to help you lock down USB drives."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Where Businesses Waste Endpoint Security Budgets
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/15/2019
How Attackers Infiltrate the Supply Chain & What to Do About It
Shay Nahari, Head of Red-Team Services at CyberArk,  7/16/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-7843
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have an Insufficient input validation vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Information Disclosure in the context of the current user.
CVE-2019-7846
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have an Improper error handling vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Information Disclosure in the context of the current user.
CVE-2019-7847
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have an Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference ('XXE') vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Arbitrary read access to the file system in the context of the current user.
CVE-2019-7848
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have an Inadequate access control vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Information Disclosure in the context of the current user.
CVE-2019-7850
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-18
Adobe Campaign Classic version 18.10.5-8984 and earlier versions have a Command injection vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to Arbitrary Code Execution in the context of the current user.