This errata entry is about an incident that does not specifically name Ira Winkler. However, given the time-frame, Winkler's background, love of the media and position at HP at the time, it is our contention that Ira Winkler was directly involved in this article or affair.

Exclusive: HP's printer team in espionage drama

Spies seek ink secrets

By Ashlee Vance

28th May 2003 22:14 GMT

Hewlett-Packard's top secret printer labs are under attack from an audacious rival using the art of deception to gather confidential information.

A group of engineers working on HP's next-generation network laser printer have come under siege from a competitor, The Register has learned. Employees have received calls at work and at home from faux members of the HP team, asking for details on a new 9500 series printer code-named Nozomi. HP has fingered the culprit, we are told, although the company's identity cannot be released at this time.

That's fine, if this is true we'll find out who it was in a Department of Justice press release in a few months to a year. Ashlee Vance replied to my original mail to ISN saying she would soon name the culprit. I could not find follow-up articles.

HP suspects that a competitor has backed the espionage campaign with close to $1 million in funding. An HP executive flew to Boise to instruct employees on what to do when the enemy (or the press) calls. Placards with directions have been placed throughout the well-guarded labs.

Now where did this number come from?

A dedicated social engineering attack, even using a dozen people over several months.. you are going to pay them 1 million dollars? What, they get overpriced phones, their own office and car? The reason social engineering attacks are still popular is not only their typical success, but their low cost to implement. It only takes a payphone, disposable cell phone, hotel lobby phone or any other that offers a shred of anonymity. That alone allows you to effeciently launch your attack with minimal costs.

When I see "HP Executive" and think to who works at HP, namely Ira Winkler, I also think back to his repetitive dickwaving claims that he could steal "a billion dollars" from any company. Wonder if this is just coincidence? Or perhaps Winkler trying to justify his position at HP after recent "disgraces" he brought upon HP at public conferences.

HP has a number of fierce competitors in the printer space, including Lexmark, Canon, Epson. and new rival Dell.

Corporate espionage is a somewhat common practice in the IT industry. Oracle admitted to keeping an eye on Microsoft by hiring a lobby group, IGI, to buy garbage from pro-Microsoft lobbyists.

One example and it's "a somewhat common practice"? I know, short article, can't include several examples. I'm sure if we do some reading, we can come up with several other Corporate Espionage examples. This brings up yet another amazing coincidence:

Corporate Espionage
What it is, Why it's happening in your company, What you must do about it
Ira Winkler
ISBN: 0-7615-0840-6

So Winkler identifies what Corporate Espionage is. Why it IS happening in your company (even if it likely isn't?) And what you must do about it (like fly to Boise to educate the people falling victim to the attack). Voila! Justification for your salary.

Makes me wonder who is getting social engineered here. Hewlett-Packard or Ashlee Vance/Register?

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