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Author Topic: Tracing 'stolen' PC files  (Read 1680 times)

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Offline jeffro

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Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« on: December 28, 2015, 12:09:33 PM »
Long story short, a former colleague of mine moved to another company and in the process copied/lifted 500 files (word docs, spreadsheets, etc). She got caught and now it's some big legal debacle with our lawyers. It's the kind of thing we all think about doing for personal gain but to do it on that scale is fucking stupid on her part.

I'm dead curious about it all but obviously it's a sensitive subject with my director who feels betrayed so I don't wish to press her. So, how did she get caught?

I would give her more credit than sending them through her work email, not least the sheer time it would take. Is there a way the IT staff in our office could 'see' if she had uploaded them to something like WeTransfer for example? Is there any hidden marker on files that says when/where it has been copied to a USB stick for example?

Thoughts and conspiracy theories welcome.

« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 12:14:52 PM by jeffro »

Offline Aesop Rock

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 12:18:41 PM »
IT can see practically everything that happens on a computer when it's connected to a network. There's a history which shows what files have been moved, and to where, etc. Same thing with uploading them to a file hosting site. Sucks for her, she's probably got no job and might be looking at criminal charges.

Offline jeffro

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2015, 12:24:03 PM »
Yeah, I've done some reading into it and I guess the only thing on her side is that apparently it's hard and extremely costly to 'prove' in the eyes of the law and take to court.

Silly girl, totally unexpected though - always the quiet ones!

Offline Finn the Human

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2015, 02:09:50 PM »
Is it trade secrets? Because getting done for corporate espionage would be funny.

Offline Zoidberg

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2015, 03:48:45 PM »
Fark, how old was she and how long had she been there?

can you do that with home computers connected up to the same internets?

Offline LukeTom

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2015, 04:58:51 PM »
Is this in the UK or US. What is it being charged under? In UK i'm sure it is at least theft, if not some larger (i don't think corporate espionage in itself is a crime though?).

Offline Narcoleptic Insomniac

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2015, 06:06:58 PM »
I'd just open the file and take a picture of the computer screen with my phone. Boom! perfect crime.

Offline jeffro

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2015, 05:36:48 AM »
Fark, how old was she and how long had she been there?

can you do that with home computers connected up to the same internets?

29, 4 years.

I should point out that I work at an advertising/marketing agency, so we're not dealing in state secrets or anything that is going to get someone killed, at worst it's valuable information in the hands of competitors (budgets, business strategies etc) but to the average joe, it won't really mean anything.

Our company are keen to make an example of her though to avoid anyone else pulling the same stunt. Intellectual property theft, I believe.

Offline Bunky

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2015, 08:32:38 AM »
I work doing Sales/Account Management for an event IT company, and it's absolutely ridiculous the amount of information our nerds can pull out of a network.  Seriously, we can do things like track down to a couple feet peoples movements with our WiFi networks, even if they aren't signed into our network.  Once people sign in we can see all the data they push over the network like pictures and stuff. 

We choose not to do a lot of the things we could because it just seems skeezy, and we don't really have the time for most of the stuff outside the footfall analytics for major sponsor locations when they're paying for it.

How do you guys do your file storage?  Are you sharing it through something like DropBox?  There's some settings in there that might have given her away. 
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Offline Alex.

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2015, 02:56:33 PM »
If I had to guess, IT could probably see someone/something was moving a lot of data from their server and looked into it.
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Offline JFax

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2015, 05:33:45 AM »
Wow, I have collegues that just bring a copy of everything with them when they swap companies. I have been worried about people finding out even though I myself never done anything similar.
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Offline Stoked

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2015, 06:38:49 AM »
I've done this before.  They were my files but I guess technically company owned.  Oh well fuck em
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Offline ediotism

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2016, 08:34:45 AM »
I've done this before.  They were my files but I guess technically company owned.  Oh well fuck em

anything you created whilst operating as a functioning employee belongs to the company. to copy those files for your personal use already qualifies as theft.

there is room, however, to recreate certain things from your memory in your own time, in your own home.

e.g. say your company has a massively complex set of data that requires a certain way to organize/make sense of. you, as a data analyst, spends 4 weeks creating and refining a computer program tailored to organising this sea of data.

the computer program, whilst created by you, belongs to the company. copying this program to take home with you is illegal.

on the weekend, however, if you recreate this program at home to help you organise your own finances, tax and groceries etc, is completely kosher.

if you suddenly gets made redundant etc, and a rival company employs you, you are free to recreate such a program for the benefits of the new company*.

*subject to certain restrictions, e.g.
non-compete agreements, patents, NDA's etc

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Re: Tracing 'stolen' PC files
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2016, 08:34:45 AM »

 

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