Hackers working from China have reportedly had access to Nortel’s networks since breaching the telecommunication company’s networks as far back as 2000. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, hackers stole seven passwords from Nortel’s top executives, granting them access to reports, business plans, employee e-mails and other documents.
Brian Shields, a former Nortel employee, led the internal investigation into the breach and told the Journal that the hackers “had access to everything.” An internal report indicated that Nortel reset the passwords that had been taken but didn’t do anything else to keep the hackers out.
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Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy in 2009, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the story.
The report said that Nortel discovered the hackers in 2004, after an employee noticed some unusual downloads being made in the name of an executive. Shields told the paper that he found that the hackers have been using China-based Internet addresses for the transmissions. He said that he noticed unusual transmissions every month or so, but that Nortel decided to ignore his recommendations to enhance network security.