An ex-employee of Intel allegedly walked away with 3,900 documents pertaining to confidential data from the company. Intel has filed a lawsuit and wants $75,000 as payment for potential damage from the stolen documents.
The former employee in question is Dr. Varun Gupta, who left Intel last year to join Microsoft as a “Principal for Strategic Planning in Cloud and AI.” On his last day working for Intel, Dr. Gupta is alleged to have grabbed nearly 4,000 confidential files and stashed them on a couple of USB drives. The data pertains to Intel’s Xeon processors, pricing data, strategies, and Intel’s manufacturing capabilities of the chips.
Intel has filed a lawsuit, saying that Gupta used this confidential information to gain an unfair advantage with Microsoft in negotiations concerning (Xeon) product specifications and pricing.
Intel had a security team begin an investigation into Gupta, with help from Microsoft, to see how damaging the theft was. Ultimately they found Gupta had indeed taken thousands of Intel documents and had access to the thumb drives with the confidential data over a hundred times during his time with Microsoft.
Dr. Gupta has admitted to having one thumb drive, but he says he turned the drive over to Microsoft immediately for analysis. The other thumb drive has not been found so far. Besides admitting to having one thumb drive with some of Intel’s data, Gupta denies all of Intel’s other claims.
While Gupta’s motives are still unclear, it seems the matter will be settled in court. As a worst-case scenario (for Intel at least), Microsoft might get Xeon processors at a steeper discount than anyone else.