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Oops, I accidently copied the Goldman Sachs “secret sauce”!

July 16th, 2009 by Agent Smith (0) Data Theft & Loss,DLP,In The Spotlight

There has been much noise about the Goldman Sachs ex-employee who managed to leave the company with their secret solution to be faster and better than their financial services competitors. At first, the name of the company reporting the data breach was unclear, then more started whispering Goldman Sachs. Let’s sink into the juicy details.

It all started when a computer programmer was arrested for stealing classified application code that powerd his former employer’s, later identified as Goldman Sachs, high-speed financial trading platform. The programmer’s name, along with more details on the incident, were reproduced from an FBI affidavit by DarkReading:

According to an affidavit (PDF) filed by the arresting FBI officer and subsequently posted by news media, the programmer, Sergey Aleynikov, copied “proprietary trade code” from his company and uploaded it to a Website 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” — and paid him around three times his old salary of $400,000, according to the affidavit.

The programmer says it was all a mistake. Apparently, he only wanted some open sourced files he was working on and ended up with the entire shabang. The fact he never sold the code or tried to otherwise use it plays in his favor. The fact he tried to hide all traces of the data transfer, doesn’t. But that’s somehting to be settled in a court.

What’s fascinating, as ZDNet’s Larry Dignan explained on one of the network’s blogs, is that Goldman Sachs, “a master at gauging risk”, was able to overlook the danger of inside threats. Especially when it’s something all security experts have been talking about for a long while.

When you think about it, nothing happened to Goldman Sachs. Other than a much needed wake up call. What could have happened? The competition actually improving their own platforms and taking over more and more clients from Goldman Sachs. I have a feeling adding up the numbers of this potential loss would make us all dizzy!.

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