Although reports have been swirling regarding Chinese hackers breaking into Nortel’s computers for over ten years in order to steal trade secrets, I have been unable to confirm such a breach took place. I have tapped into a few high-level sources and they were unaware of anything like this happening – the internal Nortel employees would almost certainly need to know if such an attack was taking place.
After all, reports say that even Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski had a computer which was compromised.
One of the reasons Nortel went bankrupt had to do with Chinese competitors Huawei and ZTE undercutting Nortel on price for carrier wireless and other products. So it easy to understand why many would easily believe that Nortel had been hacked.
And hacks from China are not unusual – they have happened to numerous US companies and even government agencies.
But again, would you not let your company workers know if this was the case?
Siobhan Gorman has a story in the Wall Street Journal on what happened at Nortel and it seems there is enough information to make you believe the hack was real. But still, I remain skeptical that the breach if it happened was on such a massive scale. I reached out to Siobhan in order to see if there are any public documents which would enlighten us. I will advise you if I hear of anything – please drop me a line if you know of anything as well.