Nortel hacked for 10 years because execs had crackable passwords

In what is nothing short of an embarrassment for telecommunications giant Nortel Networks, it has been exposed that hackers in China have been accessing sensitive company information for nearly 10 years. It was hard to notice anything was wrong because these hackers seemed to gain access to proprietary company websites legitimately. All they needed to do was figure out the passwords of company executives.

The widespread and long-lasting intrusion was exposed by the Wall Street Journal, which received information from former Nortel employee Brian Shields. According to the report, the hackers have been gaining access to sensitive information – technical papers, R&D report, employee e-mails, and business plans – since the year 2000. Nortel did not return the publication's request for comments.

When the intrusion was finally noticed, the executives changed their passwords and an investigation was launched, but it seems like little was done to fully track down the source of the problem. It would after all be very difficult to trace down the evidence to a single individual or group. It's unclear what damage, implicit or otherwise, might have occurred from these 10 long years of data leaks.

[via PC Mag]