A group of Chinese hackers over three years ago reportedly penetrated Coca Cola’s computer systems ahead of its $2.4 billion acquisition of Chinese beverage company China Huiyan Juice Co., even as the takeover deal collapsed three days later.
Despite the company having lost vital data in the Huiyan deal when the hackers are said to have hacked into the beverage giant’s system for a period exceeding one month, Coca-Cola remained silent.
According to Bloomberg reports, the hackers made daily incursions through Coca-Cola networks over a period of at least one month, often using systems that were first compromised by infected e-mails sent to company executives.
Using messages perceived to be authentic but which contained the malware, the hackers circumnavigated Coca-Cola defences. In the one month ordeal, the hackers said to be part of a Comment Group, one of the most lethal in china, are said to have stolen emails and documents before proceeding to acquire passwords of top executives of the company based in Hong Kong including those in the administration.
When sought for comments, Coca-Cola spokesperson Kent Landers said it was not unusual for the company to have concealed such an intrusion.
“We make disclosures in our public filings when we believe they are appropriate and in accordance with the requirements of the federal securities laws,” Landers said.
The deal finally failed to materialize in an acquisition that could have been the largest in the Chinese soil. It is however unclear whether the hacking had anything to do with the collapse.