This is how you catch Chinese hackers now
Jeffrey Johnson is the founder of Squirrel Werkz, which he says isn’t just another cyber security start up. Johnson’s contention is that hacking is a business and competitive issue, and that’s how companies need to approach it. “What we forgot to do was to focus on the business transactions,” he says. Johnson began doing just that as a cyber-risk specialist at EY ( formerly Ernst & Young). In 2012 he was called in to examine a breach at a US chemical company. An earlier investigation by the FBI concluded that Chinese hackers had penetrated the company’s network using a phishing e-mail and gained control of servers in Germany and Canada for two months.
As Johnson began digging into the company’s business plans and operational data, it became clear the damage was more extensive. The likely beneficiary of all the malicious activity emerged, Johnson says, when a Chinese firm made a lowball offer for the US company after its performance began faltering. He says the business “has no way of recovering. You’re stealing the future”.
Johnson’s SquirrelWerkz closely tracks the activities of Chinese “national champions,” strategically important companies that the Chinese government supports.
Johnson says his approach simplifies things — instead of defending against everyone, companies identify the competitors most likely to target them