Intel the victim of "sophisticated" cyberattack

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Intel this week said it was the victim of a sophisticated cyberattack that occurred in January around the same time cybercriminals compromised systems at Google, Adobe and more than 30 other large companies.

In its annual 10-K report, a summary of a public company's performance required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Intel said hackers regularly attempt to infiltrate its information technology systems — and are sometimes successful.

“One recent and sophisticated incident occurred in January 2010 around the same time as the recently publicized security incident reported by Google,” Intel wrote in the filing, which was submitted Monday.

Intel did not provide any specifics about the attack, but said hacking attempts may be the result of espionage or others seeking to harm the company.

“It routinely happens,” Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy told SCMagazineUS.com on Tuesday. “It is not unusual for us to see these sorts of attacks. As a matter of policy, we don't talk about specifics.”

Mulloy said he could not confirm or deny if the attack that Intel suffered in January was part of the same wave of attacks that hit Google, Adobe and others.

“We mentioned Google because it was very prominent in the news at the time we saw that particular attack,” Mulloy said. “Based on what we know right now, there was no IP [intellectual property] loss.”

In the filing, Intel said it works to detect and investigate cyberattacks to prevent them from recurring, but sometimes the company is not aware of incidents that have occurred, or their effects.

Hacking incidents could lead to the unauthorized use or publication of trade secrets or other confidential business information, Intel said. In addition, cyberattacks also could negatively impact the value of a company's investments in research and development, along with relationships with third parties and customers.

“Our business could be subjected to significant disruption, and we could suffer monetary and other losses, including the cost of product recalls and returns and reputational harm, in the event of such incidents and claims,” Intel said.

Cyberattacks cost enterprises an average of $2 million per year due to a loss of productivity, revenue and customer trust associated with such events, according to a study released Monday by Symantec.

In January, Google disclosed that its systems were compromised by organized and well-resourced cybercriminals, believed to be operating out of China and who stole intellectual property. The attacks were dubbed “Operation Aurora."

Other companies reportedly targeted in Operation Aurora included Yahoo, Symantec, Juniper Networks, Northrop Grumman and Dow Chemical, according to the Washington Post, which cited unnamed congressional and industry sources.

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