Nortel hit by suspected Chinese cyberattacks for a decade

Nortel hit by suspected Chinese cyberattacks for a decade

The hackers – who appeared to be based in China – had unfettered access to the former telecommunications giant as far back as 2000, according to Brian Shields, a former Nortel employee who launched an internal investigation of the attacks, the Wall Street Journal reports. They “had access to everything”, Shields told the Journal. “They had plenty of time. All they had to do was figure out what they wanted.”


A decade ago, the Chinese were stepping up their internet attacks as a way to steal patented technology, insider information, industrial sabotage, and research theft. Here it appears we had a company that knew of the espionage yet did nothing to fix it, repair it, nor notify anyone of the issue. It again reflects a common belief I’ve had for a long time that the only one that will protect your security is you.

There are somethings you don’t put on the internet. If you don’t put them there, you can’t have the data stolen…or at least not from you. Things you put on the internet that could have repercussions, you do other ways than sending in the clear.

It would no hacker any good to seek access to my computer for financial info. None resides on it. They can search all they want, nothing is there in personal records. You won’t find tax data, credit card data, passwords to accounts, nothing personal like emails to family, simply I use this computer for internet surfing and that makes it not secure. Because it sees the internet, nothing will ever go on it allowing anyone access to my financial data.

On the business front, lots of things have happened with the Chinese and security. It has become known that the Chinese seek insider info on all things. No traveler to China can expect to bring a cell phone or laptop computer and have it survive the trip without being infected once it is used. That is just simply too many incidents for it not to have the permission and blessing of the Chinese government.

Today all business reps that go to China are admonished by the home office not to bring a cell phone they use regularly, nor a laptop. Either buy one there and destroy it before coming home for the cell phone or wipe the laptop completely and weigh it coming and going from China. All cell phones and laptops to carry with out to be wiped before going and after returning without connection to the company intranets.

The US Chamber of Commerce in 2010 found that they had been infiltrated so thoroughly that the thermostat and printer was connecting to Chinese IPs, on their network.

The Chamber’s network is now believed to be secure. After analyzing how the hackers were gaining access to information, the Chamber spent 36 hours over one weekend destroying computers and dramatically improving its security. The timing on the overhaul was planned after the Chamber discovered the hackers kept regular working hours and did not work on weekends.


When hacking and espionage reach these levels of penetration, with this amount of massive invasive infections to travelers, it’s not by accident. It’s a government sponsored and carried out program, reaching all levels of tourism and business in it’s scope.

Posted in Thoughts.

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