Protecting intellectual property against insiders is tough enough when the insiders are a company's own employees. The problem becomes even more difficult when a third party--whether a vendor or customer--has access to confidential information.
Just ask Symantec. Last week, the company confirmed that a group of hackers had stolen the source code to two of the firm's older products--Endpoint Protection 11.0 and Antivirus 10.2--from a third party. The group of allegedly Indian hackers, using the name "The Lords of Dharmaraja," claimed that the leak came from the Indian government and planned to release the code to the public.
"Symantec's own network was not breached, but rather that of a third party entity," Symantec spokesman Cris Paden said in an e-mailed statement. "We are still gathering information on the details and are not in a position to provide specifics on the third party involved."
The leak is an embarrassment to the company, but Symantec maintains that it does not represent a major threat. The source code from the two programs is four to five years old, Paden says.
"Presently, we have no indication that the code disclosure impacts the functionality or security of Symantec's solutions," he said. "In 2010 alone, we distributed 10 million updates to our products in response to new cyber threats. If you extrapolate to four and five years, you can get an idea of how much our ... code has evolved over the following years."
Yet, a significant question for companies is why did the Indian government, if the code was indeed stolen from the government, keep the code so long, says Rob Rachwald, director of security strategy for Imperva.
Heightened concern that users could inadvertently expose or leak--or purposely steal--an organization's sensitive data has spurred debate over the proper technology and training to protect the crown jewels. An Insider Threat Reality Check, a special retrospective of recent news coverage, takes a look at how organizations are handling the threat--and what users are really up to. (Free registration required.)