Skip to main content

AMD Employee Steals Intel Secrets

An AMD employee steals an estimated $1 Billion in secrets while still on Intel’s payroll.

If AMD didn’t have enough to worry about with its recent layoffs and the overall economy going down the toilet, now one of its ex-employees is facing charges of one count of theft of trade secrets, and four counts of wire fraud in a criminal complaint filed in August in U.S. District Court in Boston. If convicted, the ex-employee could serve ten years in prison for stealing trade secrets, and up to twenty years on each wire fraud charge.

According to The Associated Press, 33-year-old Biswamohan Pani downloaded the confidential documents - worth up to $1 Billion dollars (insert Dr. Evil grin here) - back in June after resigning from rival microprocessor manufacturer Intel. However, before leaving the company, he used his remaining paid vacation days, thus sat at home with full access to Intel’s network and earning a paycheck while gathering trade secrets. At the same time, Pani also began working for AMD. Naturally, the situation sounds rather suspicious on AMD’s part.

"AMD has not been accused of wrongdoing, and the FBI has stated that there is no evidence that AMD had any involvement in or awareness of Mr. Pani’s alleged actions," reports AMD.

Naturally, the contents of the sensitive material were not given other than a portion detailed methods for designing microprocessors. Pani claims that he had no intentions to hurt Intel, only to give the information to his wife, who coincidentally also worked for Intel. Pani’s lawyer, Brad Bailey, told the Associated Press that he plans to take the case to trial, that his client denies all allegations and then refused to comment on Pani’s case any further.

Prosecutors say otherwise however, claiming that Pani "planned to use this information to advance his career at AMD or elsewhere by drawing on it when the opportunity arose, whether with his employer’s knowledge or not." Prosecutors also reaffirmed that AMD had no knowledge of Pani’s actions and did not benefit from his theft.

Pani is no longer an employee at AMD.

Yesterday AMD reported that it terminated five hundreds jobs worldwide in an effort to cut costs and achieve a $1.5 billion "breakeven." Stock prices have also fallen, closing at $2.65 per share as of October 28, dropping nearly 90 percent since early 2006. Although AMD claims no involvement with Pani’s actions, it does seem rather suspicious given the company’s present situation. Currently Intel owns roughly 80 percent of the microprocessor market, leaving AMD the remaining 20 percent.

It wouldn’t be too surprising if something else stemmed from the recent charges against Pani, however prosecutors seem confident (or at least has not found any evidence proving otherwise) that AMD remained unaware and uninvolved during the theft.

  • DFGum
    There a reason this is being reported here AGAIN?

    Also,some things i find odd is:
    If your still employeed whats wrong with getting stuff for your wife who still works there. If he wanted to steal stuff he could do it by having his wife give it to him.
    Also, wouldnt his wife have quit soon after to join AMD?
    Also i find it odd that she hasn't quit do to the fact there going after her husband...
    Reply
  • hemelskonijn
    Currently Intel owns roughly 80 percent of the microprocessor market, leaving AMD the remaining 20 percent.

    Euhm ... that leaves none for SUN Motorola Freescale IBM ARM and a bunch of other microprocessor bakery's that do have "some" influence on the entire microprocessor bakery world.

    So basically it means they all died .... :(
    Reply
  • @DFGum - not all employees have access to ALL documents. It is quite possible (likely?) his wife would not have access to the same documents he had unless they were doing the same/similar jobs.

    Also it is probably not odd she hasn't quit yet, as she is now the only wage earner in that household, and it is unlikely he will be getting a job anytime soon and it appears like he will need some serious money for his legal defense...

    Also, I'm not sure how Intel does it but the high level stuff is usually viewable only online (within the company firewall) and is not capable of being printed without special approval. So your supposition that his wife could have gotten it for him is probably not accurate.

    What is odd is that you are trying to defend these actions... he also lied about where his next job was. The reason for this is clear - had he told Intel where he was going, he would have been walked out instantly to prevent this type of situation (I have seen this happen at other tech companies)
    Reply
  • falchard
    Trade secrets going to AMD from Intel are kinda worthless seeing as how Intel copied AMD this time with the Core i7.
    Reply
  • Pei-chen
    AMD Phenom i7 here we come.
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    falchardTrade secrets going to AMD from Intel are kinda worthless seeing as how Intel copied AMD this time with the Core i7.If you are talking about the IMC you should be aware Intel was the first to experiment with it.
    Reply
  • Mucke
    OK, first I agree with DFGum that there is no reason to bring that story up again -- except to tell us that tomshardware is more suspicious about AMD than the FBI.

    The only news is that the secrets are worth a billion Dollar. What a nonsense statement is that? Who is supposed to pay that billion (with doctor evils grin)?

    So much for todays news. That entire story doesn't make sense to me. If he really tried to steal those informations to do something illegal, there is no more obvious way to do it. Why accessing the Intel-Network from home leaving traces for years and risking that his account would already have been disabled? If I were to steal secrets I would use an USB-stick while still an employee.
    Maybe I'm naive, but to me that story only makes sense if that guy is not particularly smart and really just wanted to help his wife.
    Intel should reconsider its security management; letting AMD-personal access their network... somebody could really mess around.

    P.S.: For me the Core i7 is just a Phenom with the Athlon cores replaced by (faster) C2D-Cores. I give Intel some credit for triple-channel, but that is it.
    Reply
  • Master Exon
    falchardTrade secrets going to AMD from Intel are kinda worthless seeing as how Intel copied AMD this time with the Core i7.Yeah... and how Intel copied AMD BEFORE AMD made this magical technology...
    Reply
  • nYdGeo
    Good ole' Tom's Hardware...fair-weather friend and National Inquirer of the IT industry. Bought 'n' paid for suck-up to many and of true value to few. Do you think that you could have done a cheesier, tackier, more biased job of reporting legitimate news?

    You rode the A(MD)-train through most of the AMD-64 domination years, then as soon as Intel caught AMD with their pants down (and they certainly did!) you turned tail and have been ragging them ever since. Intel deserves every bit of the success that everything Core 2 and later has brought them; it simply rules. There is however no reason to consistently find every excuse to down AMD…unless it is part of your agenda.

    In this particular situation, it has been made clear repeatedly by both prosecution and the Federal investigators that at this juncture no one is suspecting any sort if guilt or wrong doing on the part of AMD, yet your persecution repeatedly plants malicious seeds with remarks such as, "It wouldn’t be too surprising if something else stemmed from..." and “Although AMD claims no involvement with Pani’s actions, it does seem rather suspicious…”

    Why is it that today, under your "News" heading, is the article titled, "With Intel increasing its technology lead, will AMD become more..."? This article is from January, 2007, but this is still current news to you? Nope. But it is yet another cheap, opportunistic manipulation of circumstance by Tom's Hardware, obviously designed to dig & plant seeds at AMD's expense.

    In an article about an alleged theft, why are you again reporting, “Yesterday AMD reported that it terminated five hundreds jobs worldwide in an effort to cut costs and achieve a $1.5 billion "breakeven." Stock prices have also fallen, closing at $2.65 per share as of October 28, dropping nearly 90 percent since early 2006.” What does this have to do with the fact that a man is accused of allegedly stealing info from Intel? The answer is: nothing.

    Not long ago there was a landmark Supreme Court decision that stunned the tiny part of the population that ever learned of it; the US Supreme Court declared that Fox News, a major news network that millions of people look to for the truth…has no obligation or responsibility to report or otherwise tell the truth. Anyone half awake will likely see that Tom’s operates along similar guidelines.

    This industry has enough blatantly biased, obviously corrupted sycophants to the industry giants. We also get more than enough BS, propaganda, etc, from the industry giants themselves. How about you grow a pair and give us the facts, please, and nothing but the facts. I believe that I (as well as the rest of your readers) am due the respect of allowing me to draw my own conclusions based on again, the facts.

    Thank you for your time.
    Reply
  • AMD does 4 cores on 1 die, onboard memory controller, 64 bit processing, among many other things... Intel always comes in later with the same technologies. I remember when Intel laughed at AMD for making a 64 bit processor for the desktop users, saying it would not be used for years. Shortly after, they announced they would be making 64 bit desktop processors.

    I don't see AMD using any type of hyperthreading...
    Reply