Feeds

Couple charged over hybrid car industrial espionage plot

GM secrets allegedly offered to Chinese rival

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A Michigan couple faces charges of stealing industrial secrets on hybrid cars from GM before attempting to sell the data to a Chinese auto manufacturer.

Yu Qin, 49, and his wife, Shanshan Du, 51, of Troy, Michigan have been charged with four offences, including unauthorised possession of trade secrets and wire fraud under an indictment unsealed on Thursday. GM reportedly places a value of $40m on the stolen documents.

Former GM worker Du allegedly copied thousands of sensitive documents onto a hard disk after she was offered a severance agreement in January 2005. This hard drive was used by Millennium Technology International, a firm run by the two defendants, which months later allegedly offered hybrid vehicle technology to Chery Automobile in China.

The circumstances of the case raise serious questions about the security controls applied by GM to safeguard its research around the time of the alleged data theft.

In May 2006 the couple's home was raided, leading to the recovery of computers containing industrial secrets, according to prosecutors. The couple allegedly attempted to shred presumably incriminating documents and dump them after their initial arrests, alleged misdeeds that have resulted in an obstruction of justice charge.

The defendants appeared in federal court on Thursday for arraignment on charges punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and heavy fines on conviction.

"As our auto industry works to find new areas of innovation, such as hybrid technology, we will not tolerate the theft of our trade secrets from foreign competitors," said Barbara McQuade, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. "We will aggressively prosecute people who steal from the investment that our auto industry has made in research and development."

A statement on the charges can be found on a DoJ website for the district here (pdf). ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.