back to article Intel engineer turned chip spy pleads guilty

A former Intel engineer who worked on the company's Itanium processors for servers and who is accused of stealing documents relating to future processor designs and chip fabrication processes has pleaded guilty to the charges. According to various reports – (here's one from Reuters and another from Bloomberg) Biswamohan Pani, an …

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Mushroom

Part of a trend, makes us all look bad

I'd never do anything like this, simply because I'm a professional. I like working in this industry and wouldn't like the idea of basically being blackballed from it for a stupid move like this. But it's an interesting pointer to a trend I've seen -- employees being completely disconnected from their employers' business.

That's not a total shocker given how little loyalty has been shown on the other side of the table. It doesn't excuse stealing proprietary chip designs, but I can see why some individuals might take this approach (on a related note, check out the top 10 IT rogues' gallery for more examples.)

Losing your job is one thing -- stealing a chip design to impress a new employer is a totally different one. If I were AMD, and saw those documents, I would (1) physically get that guy far away from my facility, and (2) scrub my eyeballs and brain of any trace of what I just saw. There would be no way AMD could have used this data without throwing up a million red flags, and it serves as a pretty good gauge of how loyal this guy would be as an employee.

I honestly don't know which way IT should go. One way is for us to become 100% untrusted, hired-gun contractors who only do the job we are authorized to do, and get tossed as soon as we're not needed. To make that a reality, we'd all have to work off-premises or in a secured contractor bubble in the employers' facilities. This model works great for 20-somethings with no family and a one-bedroom apartment -- I've worked with lots of people who travel 300+ days a year, get paid 4x the salary of a regular employee, and actively love it. The only problem is that every one of the older ones I know is unmarried or divorced because there's no way to sustain a family with that kind of life. For those of us who aren't as enthusiastic about our multi-Platinum status on frequent flyer/frequent guest programs, I think a model with more stability could work. Roll back the clock to the 50s through the 70s, but keep current technology in place. Workers could get a job for life, pension, benefits, salary that keeps up with inflation, etc. In return, a company would get workers who were more invested in their employers. I think you'd still have some wrongdoing, but you'd see less incidents of people walking off with company secrets. That's just because people like me would figure, "Hey, this company is paying me well and doesn't treat me like crap...why steal from them?"

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Anonymous Coward

He belongs in prison

Unscrupulous people like this belong in prison with Bill Gates, Paul Otellini and quite a few other CEOs.

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FAIL

Dümmer Als Die Polizei Erlaubt

The German term.

It is astonishing how criminally unsavy the average electrical or software engineer behaves. If you plan to take away data, do it before you announce retirement and be "in the know" regarding logging systems.

Physically removing a hard disk and copying it at home might be the best approach. And don't forget to bury your heist in a Cola bottle (will hold lots of USB sticks and is quite watertight for years) in the forest, so that a police search will turn up nothing. Record GPS coordinates disguised as some engineering notes. That worked with my PIN when police questioned me for some very serious crime I was suspected of. Coppers are mystified by diagrams of aircrafts and forces which work on them....

But I guess the best advice is to to commit any criminal act. Geeks are very incompetent at it.

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Re: Dümmer Als Die Polizei Erlaubt

I suppose the issue w/ criminal geeks is that we don't read about the competent ones.

Mr. Pani just lacked any sensible planning. There are many ways to steal data and remain unnoticed, with most prominent - do not use a standard storage for the data (i.e. no disks - either hard or optical, usb sticks or blatant upload)

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Happy

Re: Dümmer Als Die Polizei Erlaubt

MicroSD cards, in wax, in epoxy resin. Would look like discarded chewing gum. Why get your shoes dirty?

Or data in a microdot, hidden in the 'i' of Rimmer's Bronze Swimming Certificate.

Or encoded in Braille, around the frieze of a room. (who wrote that short story?)

Or inscribed in ice, and kept in freezer?

Personally, I would find the deception too much of a strain, though. It's easier on my brain to be honest. Most people are, but amazing how many of us enjoy the 'perfect murder' thought games of Agatha Christie et al.

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FAIL

Errata

But I guess the best advice is NOT to commit any criminal act. Geeks are very incompetent at it. me-fail.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Errata

not quite: you never hear about the ones that don't get caught...

id imagine the *very* clever ones don't even leave a trace that a crime has been committed...

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Joke

Re: Errata

You are right about being incompetent about it - it was the Itanium designs he was hoping to flog?

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WTF?

I don't think that this guy is the sharpest knife in the drawer.

What he did is roughly equivalent to resigning as a curator at the Louvre, getting a job at the V&A and thinking that your new employer will be real impressed if you turn up with the Mona Lisa tucked under your arm. It (apparently) did not occur to him that AMD would regard him as about as welcome as a dose of the clap when they realised what he'd done?

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Ghengis Khan

would kill the lieutenants of his fallen enemies if they showed disloyalty to their dead masters and sucked-up to him, IIRC.

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IT Angle

Re: Ghengis Khan

What's the link between GK and a thieving former Intel employee?

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Anonymous Coward

What a dumbass

I can understand this dud being unhappy with a screwed up company like Intel but stealing technology is not cool at all.

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