Cuban Cyber-Spies?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The Chinese regime's recent cyber-attack against Google's infrastructure -- targeting information on dissidents and human rights advocates -- has led the tech company to reconsider its business operations in China.

However, cyber-attacks aren't the only way that tyrants target information from tech companies.

There's also espionage.

According to CNET Technology News, "Google's spy case: Not the first, nor the last:"

Google is investigating whether employees in its China office were involved in what looks like a multi-prong attack on the company's network, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Some employees in China were reportedly put on leave. Google has declined to comment on specifics of the investigation.

Installing spies within a target company is another common espionage trick. Sources said Google is looking into whether insiders were involved in the attacks targeting it. Insiders can more easily plant malware and spyware inside a company without having to get past corporate firewalls and they can forward email around without having to hide their identities, experts say.

"There have been several good examples over the years where insiders were caught extracting information, such as foreign nationals working for Cuba and China," including at Motorola, said John Bumgarner, chief technology officer at the government-funded think tank U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit.

A software engineer who worked for eight years at Motorola was accused of spying after she was arrested in 2007 while waiting to board a one-way flight to China carrying more than 1,000 proprietary documents, according to published reports.