Trend Micro data revealed due to virus

The failure of a Trend Micro worker to install antivirus software on his home computer led to the uploading of some company data to a popular P-to-P network.

The failure of a Trend Micro employee to install his company's own antivirus software led to the uploading of some company reports to a popular Japanese peer-to-peer file sharing network, the company said Monday.

About a year ago an employee, who is no longer with Trend Micro, copied data including reports to his boss and proposals regarding the company's products to his home computer, said Kazuhisa Tagaya [cq], a spokesman for the Tokyo company. However the computer was infected through the Winny file sharing application with a virus that caused the files to be released over the file sharing network.

"We didn't say anything at the time because one file has a customer's company name," said Tagaya. "If we did say this then people would have searched for the file and it would have caused trouble for the customer. Now, such accidents happen everyday and the version of the file being distributed on Winny has been rewritten incorrectly by someone so is wrong."

He said the file wasn't altered by Trend Micro or its employees.

In disclosing the data leak, Trend Micro becomes the latest of a number of corporations or government agencies to report data losses as a result of viruses on the Winny network. Winny can be downloaded at no charge and is a popular way for Japanese Internet users to exchange music and video files.

Documents including police investigation materials, training manuals for Japan's Self Defense Forces, data related to nuclear power plants and information including the names of sex crime victims have all found their way into the public domain via Winny, according to local news reports.

The string of leaks led a senior Japanese government official, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe [cq], to call on people not to use Winny.

"We cannot prevent information leaks unless everyone takes anti-virus measures," Abe said at a news conference on March 15. "The surest way is not to use Winny."

For Trend Micro the loss of data due to a virus is likely an embarrassment for the company.

"Trend Micro gives its anti-virus software to all employees for installation on their home computers," said Tagaya. In this case it appears the employee did not bother to install the software on his home computer.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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