Amazon investigates its employees for alleged confidential data sale

Allegations about some Amazon employees asking for money in exchange for valuable information are being investigated by the company

According to ethical hacking specialists, allegations have emerged against Amazon staff members, as they are accused of supposedly trying to sell internal data and other advantages that independent vendors can use to try to get higher ratings for their products in searches within the company’s website. It is believed that this practice is very popular in Chinese territory.

An Amazon spokesperson stated to several media that the company initiated an investigation over the claims: “We make our employees comply with a high ethical standard and anyone who violates our code is facing disciplinary action, including contract termination and possible legal and criminal penalties”, the spokesperson mentioned.

Supposed Amazon employees in China’s southern city of Shenzhen would have offered internal sales metrics and email addresses to independent vendors in exchange for payments of between $80 and $2k USD, according to the report of the specialists in ethical hacking. The alleged employees would also have proposed eliminating the negative reviews of some products and restoring accounts banned by the company.

“Amazon has sophisticated systems to restrict and audit access to information”, said the company spokesperson, who added that the company would also punish vendors who fail to comply with its standards.

“We have zero tolerance for the abuse of our systems and if we find malicious actors who have been involved in this behavior, we will take quick action against them, including eliminating their vendor’s accounts, removing products reviews, the withholding of funds and the adoption of legal measures”, the spokesperson stated.

According to specialists in ethical hacking from the International Institute of Cyber Security, Amazon’s research could also involve some company employees in U.S. territory.

In 2015, the company sued more than 1k people who were “cheating Amazon customers” by selling “fake product reviews”, according to a complaint filed by the company. That lawsuit was addressed to account holders at Fiverr.com, a platform to advertise occasional jobs where spaces are sold for $5 and more.

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