Feeds

HP's CEO: 'I'm so sorry' that this got out

Dunny flushed

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Patricia Dunn has not survived the HP spy scandal – a turn of events that everyone except HP saw as inevitable long ago. Dunn today resigned from HP's board, elevating CEO Mark Hurd to the Chairman role.

Hurd announced the executive shifts during a tense press conference at HP's headquarters in Palo Alto. Voice trembling at times and with nervous ticks, Hurd confessed to most of the gritty spy scandal details that have leaked out in various media reports. He also admitted to being involved in portions of HP's investigation and to not doing everything he should have to oversee the affair.

"This is a complicated situation, and the more I look into it, the more complicated it becomes," Hurd said. "I cannot guarantee that we will ever be able to obtain all of the information regarding this investigation."

"I take (investigating this situation) very seriously, and I am committed to getting to the bottom of this."

Hurd and hired gun Mark Holston, from law firm Morgan Lewis, provided a fairly detailed account of HP's boardroom investigation that has been ongoing since "early 2005." Concerned over leaks to the media, HP hired a security firm to probe its own board members, employees, reporters and reporters' family members. But then you knew that already.

Hurd confidently proclaimed that he personally hired Morgan Lewis to investigate the spy operation on Sept. 8, and the law firm now directly reports to Hurd.

Morgan Lewis has turned up evidence of a two-phased leak probe dubbed Kona I and Kona II.

Under Kona I, HP Chairman Patricia Dunn hired outside firm Security Outsourcing Solutions – don't let the SOS irony escape you. SOS with help from Dunn started digging into reporters at BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. After two months, SOS then teamed with HP Global Security on the investigation, and reported on its findings at a July 22, 2005 meeting.

Hurd, along with other HP employees, attended that meeting.

Kona I finished off in the "late summer of 2005 without uncovering the source of the leaks," Holston said.

Then, in January of 2006, Kona II fired up. HP's senior counsel Kevin Hunsaker led this investigation, which was triggered after a Jan. 23 CNET story. The probe continued for three months with regular updates making their way to Dunn and others.

Hunsaker, SOS and SOS's outside counsel assured HP that all tactics used in Kona II were legal, according to Holston.

Shot of HP CEO Mark Hurd at press conference

The spy mechanisms, however, quite clearly were on the fuzzy side of the law. HP's investigators fraudulently obtained phone records by using peoples' Social Security Numbers, sent a tracking email to a reporter and used surveillance to follow a number of individuals.

All told, these techniques have left HP in a precarious position where employees will need to testify before a Congressional committee next week. In addition, the California Attorney General's office and the SEC are investigating the company.

Instead of confessing all in one go, HP has allowed story after story to appear in various papers over the past two weeks. This has resulted in a leak scandal far worse than the original, innocuous leaks HP was investigating.

At present, most people want to know exactly what Hurd knew and when, since he's actually received a promotion as a result of this affair.

Here's a recap of what Hurd confessed during today's press conference.

"In, I believe, Februarys 2006, I was informed by the investigation team that they intended to send an email containing false information in an effort to identify the source of the leaks. I was asked to and did approve the naming convention that was used in the content of that email. I do not recall seeing nor do I recall approving the use of tracer technology."

"In March 2006, I attended a meeting at which a verbal summary of the second phase of the investigation was provided. Specifically, that the investigative team had indentified the source of the leaks. I understand there was also a written report of the investigation addressed to me and others but I did not read it. I could have, and I should have."

Um, yes.

Beyond these revelations, Hurd offered a couple of concessions.

"I will say that some of the findings Morgan Lewis has uncovered are very disturbing to me.

"On behalf of HP, I extend my sincere apologies to those journalists who were investigated and everyone who was impacted." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.