Apple memo reveals 29 leakers caught last year, urges staff to stop leaking confidential i...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 13
Apple has warned its employees about the dangers of leaking confidential information to the media, advising in a leaked internal memo that the company is still fighting to sniff out leakers, in its ongoing attempts to protect details about future products from being made public ahead of schedule.




Posted to its internal blog, the memo reveals Apple had "caught 29 leakers" last year, adding that 12 of the former employees were also arrested for their actions. "These people not only lose their jobs, they can face extreme difficulty finding employment elsewhere," the memo states, highlighting the potential consequences of leaking.

Highlighting a case from last month where the company caught and fired an employee who leaked details from an internal and confidential meeting relating to the firm's software roadmap, the memo published by Bloomberg notes the employee admitted to Apple investigators he did it because he thought he would not be found out. Apple boasts that this is not the case, as its efforts to plug leaks has led to employees, contractors, and suppliers who do these actions being caught "faster than ever."

Apple has invested in its internal investigations to identify and catch leaks as early as possible. The memo cites a gold master leak of iOS 11 head of last September's event, which included details relating to the unannounced iPhone X and unreleased operating system, with the employee responsible identified and fired within days.

The digital forensics of Global Security, used by Apple for its investigations, also discovered the identities of several employees feeding confidential data about the iPhone X, iPad Pro, and AirPods to a blogger at one Apple-focused online publication. Global Security is also credited as working with suppliers to "prevent theft of Apple's intellectual property" as well as leakers, improving security with the third-party firms to "meet or exceed Apple's expectations."

The repercussions of being found to leak expend far more than the loss of a job, Apple claims, noting the jail time and "massive fines," typically stemming from federal charges relating to network intrusions and trade secret theft. "The potential criminal consequences of leaking are real," Tom Moyer of Global Security advises, noting such discoveries "can become part of your personal and professional identity forever."

The memo also calls for employees to respect each other's work, and Apple's investment into its products, in not leaking to the press. "Thousands of people work tirelessly for months to deliver each major software release," states Josh Shaffer, leader of the UIKit team that worked on some of the items that formed part of the iOS 11 leak. "Seeing it leak is devastating for all of us."

"Everyone comes to Apple to do the best work of their lives - work that matters and contributes to what all 135,000 people in this company are doing together," Greg Joswaik of Product Marketing says to end the memo. "The best way to honor those contributions is by not leaking."

Apple is known as one of the most secretive companies in the world, and has been the subject of many rumors and leaks, both real and made up, about its products. In May 2012, CEO Tim Cook advised the company was going to "double down" on its product security and secrecy.

In October the same year, a report into Apple's security practices found them to have become stronger and stricter than during founder Steve Jobs' tenure leading the company. Efforts ranged from off-campus real-life testing of new hardware being limited to just a handful of employees, to other practices that reportedly clamped down more on what its employees were able to do, with some unnamed engineers complaining about the extreme confidentiality at the company.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    artdentartdent Posts: 51member
    Kind of ironic that the memo about leaking was leaked.


    king editor the grategatorguytdknoxjason leavittpeterhartasdasdrandominternetpersonjSnivelyanton zuykovalbegarc
  • Reply 2 of 48
    I wonder if Apple ever implements purposeful leaks in a manner at least somewhat akin to Washington trial balloons.
    tdknoxAlex1N
  • Reply 3 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,095member
    Anyone working inside Apple with confidential information should also face multi-million dollar penalties for deliberately leaking this info if caught. That would severely curtail the desire to either make money or gain fame from divulging Apple's secrets to anyone. It could put Mark Gurman right out of business.
    edited April 13 DAalsethracerhomie3dewmeAbove_The_GodsMacProAlex1N
  • Reply 4 of 48
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 102member
    I wonder if Apple ever implements purposeful leaks in a manner at least somewhat akin to Washington trial balloons.
    No way to know really but it seems likely that they do. And that is completely different from a random employee breaking their employment contract.
    king editor the grateAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 48
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,559administrator
    jdb8167 said:
    I wonder if Apple ever implements purposeful leaks in a manner at least somewhat akin to Washington trial balloons.
    No way to know really but it seems likely that they do. And that is completely different from a random employee breaking their employment contract.
    They used to for sure, back in the iMac DV/iMac G4 days. No idea if they still do.
    king editor the gratemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,484member
    I wonder if Apple ever implements purposeful leaks in a manner at least somewhat akin to Washington trial balloons.
    It's been stated by certain Apple-friendly bloggers that they do just that when it's advantageous for Apple to do so. 
    king editor the gratetoysandmemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 48
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 663member
    Global Security F**k Yeah


    edited April 13 Alex1Nbaconstangfreshmakeradm1jony0
  • Reply 8 of 48
    I wonder if Apple ever implements purposeful leaks in a manner at least somewhat akin to Washington trial balloons.
    Hmmm, well, what ever happened to Asteroid?

    https://iphone.appleinsider.com/article/?id=756
    (for those with a short memory)
    edited April 13 king editor the gratespheric
  • Reply 9 of 48
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,078member
    I mingle with Apple engineers on occasion at a hang-out spot in Silicon Valley.  It's interesting how careful (as they should be) they are when it comes to discussing anything about their job.  It's all casual speak for us and while we're all in the same field per-se and we always talk about interesting thing going on in tech, most of the conversation usually ends with "I can't really talk about what I do."  

    That's the norm than the exception.  It this day and age where someone in the world can post a flea farting in the deserts of Africa, one just can't be too careful about how their information might be used.

    Obviously, I love Apple's tech, but I would not want to work in that company.  I'd blab too much, being the conversationalist that I am.
    peterhartAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 48
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,112member
    I wonder if Apple ever implements purposeful leaks in a manner at least somewhat akin to Washington trial balloons.
    1) What are "Washington trial balloons"?

    2) I've wondered if Apple creates internal documents with unnoticeable modifications  like a slight kerning or line spacing variance on a single character or line that's imperceptible to the human eye and would need a template to see any differences so they can track down where leaks are originating.
    peterhartking editor the grateAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 48
    tshapitshapi Posts: 275member
    They probably use zero space ( or what ever they are called) characters. 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobratoysandme
  • Reply 12 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,095member
    sflocal said:
    I mingle with Apple engineers on occasion at a hang-out spot in Silicon Valley.  It's interesting how careful (as they should be) they are when it comes to discussing anything about their job.  It's all casual speak for us and while we're all in the same field per-se and we always talk about interesting thing going on in tech, most of the conversation usually ends with "I can't really talk about what I do."  

    That's the norm than the exception.  It this day and age where someone in the world can post a flea farting in the deserts of Africa, one just can't be too careful about how their information might be used.

    Obviously, I love Apple's tech, but I would not want to work in that company.  I'd blab too much, being the conversationalist that I am.
    So YOU’RE the source of the leaks!  ;)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 48
    omasouomasou Posts: 11member
    I love how there is a story about the importance of not leaking information that was then leaked.

    "... advising in a leaked internal memo ...."

    "... Posted to its internal blog, the memo..."

    looks like Apple still has some work to do. ;)
    edited April 13 Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 48
    Jail time? Nice to know Apple think of this the same way they do treason.

    In all honesty, the criminal charges stuff in this leads me to question my purchasing decisions. That takes this “leak” stuff from absurd to downright morally bankrupt.

    Personally, I hate the leaks. I would prefer a filter on this site which specified “No rumors”. I don’t want to read or hear it, I want a bit of surprise. But there is no way to get fast, breaking actual Apple News in one location without getting an inundation of rumors and gossip. Treating this as a criminal issue with jailtime consequences where the leaking is not for corporate espionage, though? Come on, that’s below the belt, and completely morally bankrupt. Fire them, sure. Their record is tarnished in the industry. But jailtime makes me ask “do I really want to support this company?”
    edited April 13
  • Reply 15 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,095member
    pg4g0001 said:
    Jail time? Nice to know Apple think of this the same way they do treason.

    In all honesty, the criminal charges stuff in this leads me to question my purchasing decisions. That takes this “leak” stuff from absurd to downright morally bankrupt.

    Personally, I hate the leaks. I would prefer a filter on this site which specified “No rumors”. I don’t want to read or hear it, I want a bit of surprise. But there is no way to get fast, breaking actual Apple News in one location without getting an inundation of rumors and gossip. Treating this as a criminal issue with jailtime consequences where the leaking is not for corporate espionage, though? Come on, that’s below the belt, and completely morally bankrupt. Fire them, sure. Their record is tarnished in the industry. But jailtime makes me ask “do I really want to support this company?”
    What reality are you living in? Divulging secret information that one has signed a legally enforceable agreement to not divulge AND the thousands or millions of dollars of damage done absolutely deserve penalties and jail time. Theft and damages are criminal matters.
    tallest skilmacseekerracerhomie3rob53RonnnieOnetroxMacProAlex1Nwatto_cobraronn
  • Reply 16 of 48
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 4,998member
    pg4g0001 said:
    Jail time? Nice to know Apple think of this the same way they do treason.

    In all honesty, the criminal charges stuff in this leads me to question my purchasing decisions. That takes this “leak” stuff from absurd to downright morally bankrupt.

    Personally, I hate the leaks. I would prefer a filter on this site which specified “No rumors”. I don’t want to read or hear it, I want a bit of surprise. But there is no way to get fast, breaking actual Apple News in one location without getting an inundation of rumors and gossip. Treating this as a criminal issue with jailtime consequences where the leaking is not for corporate espionage, though? Come on, that’s below the belt, and completely morally bankrupt. Fire them, sure. Their record is tarnished in the industry. But jailtime makes me ask “do I really want to support this company?”
    You might be right in the latter point but here the rumours are mostly analyst predictions not leaks. 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 48
    pg4g0001 said:
    Jail time? Nice to know Apple think of this the same way they do treason.

    In all honesty, the criminal charges stuff in this leads me to question my purchasing decisions. That takes this “leak” stuff from absurd to downright morally bankrupt.

    Personally, I hate the leaks. I would prefer a filter on this site which specified “No rumors”. I don’t want to read or hear it, I want a bit of surprise. But there is no way to get fast, breaking actual Apple News in one location without getting an inundation of rumors and gossip. Treating this as a criminal issue with jailtime consequences where the leaking is not for corporate espionage, though? Come on, that’s below the belt, and completely morally bankrupt. Fire them, sure. Their record is tarnished in the industry. But jailtime makes me ask “do I really want to support this company?”
    If an employee stole a laptop from work, would a criminal complaint by the company be "moral" in your book?  How about if they stole 5 servers and a 80" TV?  What if they embezzled $10,000,000?  To me the fact that sometimes Apple resorts to the criminal justice system tells me nothing more or less than they are a normal company that uses the tools available to them to protect their assets.  For example, I'm sure they won't be calling the cops about this leaked memo, but they absolutely would if someone walked up with core source code.
    SpamSandwichStrangeDaysAlex1Nwatto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 48

    The digital forensics of Global Security, used by Apple for its investigations, also discovered the identities of several employees feeding confidential data about the iPhone X, iPad Pro, and AirPods to a blogger at one Apple-focused online publication. Global Security is also credited as working with suppliers to "prevent theft of Apple's intellectual property" as well as leakers, improving security with the third-party firms to "meet or exceed Apple's expectations."


    Was it you?  I expect it's somewhat stressful knowing that you sources are putting their careers and livelihoods in your hands.
    SpamSandwichfreshmaker
  • Reply 19 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,095member

    The digital forensics of Global Security, used by Apple for its investigations, also discovered the identities of several employees feeding confidential data about the iPhone X, iPad Pro, and AirPods to a blogger at one Apple-focused online publication. Global Security is also credited as working with suppliers to "prevent theft of Apple's intellectual property" as well as leakers, improving security with the third-party firms to "meet or exceed Apple's expectations."


    Was it you?  I expect it's somewhat stressful knowing that you sources are putting their careers and livelihoods in your hands.
    I agree. I’d personally be more comfortable making predictions based on available information than encourage or allow stolen information to be published.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    pg4g0001 said:
    Jail time? Nice to know Apple think of this the same way they do treason.

    In all honesty, the criminal charges stuff in this leads me to question my purchasing decisions. That takes this “leak” stuff from absurd to downright morally bankrupt.
    If you supply some important info to the competitor, you will get jailed/filed for that. That is industrial espionage.
    SpamSandwichtallest skilStrangeDaysracerhomie3MacProAlex1Nwatto_cobrarandominternetpersontoysandmemuthuk_vanalingam
Sign In or Register to comment.