Wall of ShameFormer Intel Employee Accused of Stealing Files

Former Intel Employee Accused of Stealing Intellectual Property Files

Intel employee accessed documents while working for AMD

Intellectual property is one of the most closely guarded assets for most companies. Intellectual property is even more important in the technology industry where stolen information can give competitors a lead to market of months or even years.

Boston.com reports that a former Intel employee -- Biswahoman Pani -- has been accused of stealing top-secret files from Intel. According to Intel, Pani told his supervisor in May that he missed his wife, who worked for Intel in a California Intel facility. Pani was granted a transfer to Intel's Hudson plant on May 29. A few hours after Pani was told of the transfer, he turned in his resignation reportedly telling supervisors that he was taking a job with a hedge fund and that he would be on vacation until his last day, cited as June 11.

Intel later found out that Pani had taken a job with rival chipmaker AMD on June 2 -- more than a week before his employment at Intel ended. When Intel realized Pani had taken a job with AMD -- while still having access to an Intel provided company laptop and Intel's private corporate network -- Intel called the FBI and initiated an investigation to determine if Pani had accessed any confidential Intel files while working for AMD.

FBI Special Agent Timothy Russell said in an affidavit that in a search of Pani's home it was found that Pani had more than 100 pages of sensitive Intel documents, including drawings of future Intel processors. The information would have greatly aided AMD if turned over to the rival company.

Intel spokeswoman Claudine Mangano told Boston.com, "Intellectual property is a critical asset for Intel. We basically asked the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate activities, and we are cooperating with that investigation."

Pani has not yet been arrested, but his passport was confiscated by police. Pani has admitted to obtaining the files, but maintains he did not provide them to AMD. Pani says the files were to help his wife prepare for her new job at Intel's Hudson plant.

Russell says that there is no evidence that AMD knew what Pani was doing or aided in his actions. There is also no evidence that Pani gave the confidential Intel documents to AMD. AMD says it is cooperating fully with the investigation. Pani no longer works for AMD.

In July of 2008, a former HP VP was indicted for providing a confidential IBM document to new employers at HP in a similar case.

Source: Daily Tech September 12, 2008

Surety’s Take:

Former employee's attempt to swipe Intel's IP leaves company at risk. While this former employee denies any wrongdoing, the potential that Intel – a company whose continued success relies on the security of its intellectual property and ability to innovate faster than its competitors – had its valuable assets leaked to one of its fiercest competitors represents a major threat to Intel's business. Intel executives are left to deal with this serious concern, and also with the possibility that this former employee may have tampered with the sensitive information contained in Intel’s other electronic records – all very real concerns that could have been avoided should Intel have taken the proper precautions.

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