You are hereNYT: Hackers Reveal Offers to Spy on Corporate Rivals

NYT: Hackers Reveal Offers to Spy on Corporate Rivals


February 11, 2011- A fight between a group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers and a California-based Internet security business has opened a window onto the secretive world of private companies that offer to help corporations investigate and discredit their critics.

This week, hackers said they had penetrated the computers of HBGary Federal, a security company that sells investigative services to corporations, and posted tens of thousands of what appear to be its internal company e-mails on the Internet.

The documents appear to include pitches for unseemly ways to undermine adversaries of Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, like doing background research on their critics and then distributing fake documents to embarrass them.

The bank and the chamber do not appear to have directly solicited the spylike services of HBGary. Rather, HBGary offered to do the work for Hunton & Williams, a corporate law firm that has represented them.

A Hunton & Williams spokesman did not comment. But spokesmen for Bank of America and the chamber said Friday that they had not known about the presentations and that HBGary was never hired on their behalf. A chamber spokesman characterized the proposal as “abhorrent.”

Since the hacked e-mails appeared on a file-sharing network several days ago, a broad range of bloggers and journalists have been scouring them and discussing highlights on the Internet. The New York Times also obtained a copy of the archive.

One document that has received particular attention is a PowerPoint presentation that said a trio of data-related companies — HBGary, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies — could help attack WikiLeaks, which is rumored to be preparing to release internal e-mails from Bank of America.

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