Sentencing in DuPont insider theft case delayed again

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Sentencing in DuPont insider theft case delayed again

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has once again postponed the sentencing of the former DuPont scientist who admitted he stole US$400 million in intellectual property from the company.

The former employee, Gary Min, who worked as a research chemist for DuPont for 10 years before accepting a job with DuPont competitor Victrex in October 2005, pleaded guilty on 13 November, 2006, to stealing trade secrets. His sentencing, already delayed once, is now scheduled for October 18.

Min, also known as Yonggang Min, faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, a fine of up to US$250,000, and restitution. He admitted downloading 22,000 sensitive documents and viewing 16,706 more in DuPont's electronic library.

That made him the database’s most active user, according to prosecutors. After months of accessing the intellectual property unimpeded, Min informed DuPont that he was leaving the company in December 2005. DuPont noticed his unusually high data-access rate within the library after he gave notice. That's when the company contacted the DOJ . After Min left DuPont, he transferred 180 DuPont documents to a Victrex-owned laptop after having gone to work for Victrex in February 2006.

According to figures from the US Secret Service, 75 percent of intellectual property thefts are perpetrated by employees.

While it's likely that DuPont had policies in place specifying who could access what types of information, policies only go so far, Phil Neray, vice president of marketing at Guardium, told SCMagazine.com. "Policies are import," he admitted, "but you have to have [automated] tools in place to enforce those policies."

"Information assets have become the third category of a company's valuable assets," Wain Kellum, president and CEO of Trusted Network Technologies told SCMagazine.com. This case is a prime example of a large company forgetting that its "information assets are every bit as valuable as its physical and financial assets."

Executive management in large companies is only now beginning to realize this, he added. In any case, until recently, automated tools to monitor this kind of internal activity weren't available.

Putting automated monitoring systems on a corporate network gives enterprises two key tools in combating insider threats, added Neray. "They allow identifying the unlawful activity with real-time alerts and they create a body of forensics-quality evidence the enterprise can use" to prosecute insiders who've stolen proprietary information.

Click here to email West Coast Bureau Chief Jim Carr .

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