High-Profile Code Theft a Lesson in Data Loss Prevention

This past summer, the FBI arrested Sergey Aleynikov, a former Goldman Sachs computer programmer accused of stealing computer code that Goldman Sachs used to perform proprietary trading. According to an affidavit filed by the FBI, Aleynikov copied "proprietary trade code" from his company and uploaded it to a Web site in Germany. He later quit his job at the New York firm and moved to a new company in Chicago that "intended to engage in high-volume automated trading." This firm paid Aleynikov around three times his old salary of $400,000.

David Etue, vice president of product development at Fidelity Security Systems, said this is a teachable moment for companies that need to prevent data leakage on multi-gigabit-speed networks.

"The reason I find this case so interesting is Goldman actually found this and called the FBI," Etue said, emphasizing that Goldman is not a customer or competitor of Fidelity. "Unfortunately, they didn't stop it from happening, but they detected that it happened and went and did something about it. That's a big difference over the other data breaches that we've heard about. Typically, it's someone detected fraud in a credit card or someone posting that they did it."

According to Etue, it's rare that an organization that has been breached detects this violation itself, and this indicates Goldman has "what appears to be a very good security posture." However, he feels the ultimate failure to stop the data loss indicates where the data loss prevention industry is lagging.

"It's telling of…



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