NH company pleads guilty to hacking smaller competitor

Very interesting story about a larger company hacking into a competitor to steal customer private information. This investigation has been going on for a few years and finally came to light when the larger company was found guilty. You can find the original WMUR channel 9 news report HERE as well as below. 

CONCORD, N.H. —A New Hampshire company pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to hacking another business.

Federal officials said General Linen Services in Somersworth stole customer information from a Massachusetts competitor. The company was charged after a five-year investigation by the FBI.

The Massachusetts company is the similarly named General Linen Services Co. of Newburyport, but there is no affiliation between the two. But the companies do use the same computer software for their records, and prosecutors said the Somersworth company tried to use that to their advantage.

The FBI raided the company in 2012 and seized its computers. Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnie Huftalen said forensic tests were able to determine that the company had been hacking into its competitor’s system.

“They had downloaded about 1,100 invoices, which are the billing invoices the victim company had issued online to their own customers,” Huftalen said. “And the competitor, the defendant here, took those invoices, and it was their intention to use those invoices to try and take customers from the victim company.”

Attorney Jim Laboe, who represents the victim, said his client is 10 times smaller than the Somersworth business.

“Yet they intentionally hacked into my client’s website and stole their most valued asset, their customer information, and they did that to gain a financial, competitive advantage,” Laboe said.

Laboe said no private financial information of customers was taken.

The Somersworth company has voluntarily offered to pay the Newburyport company $100,000 in restitution, and it faces up to five years’ probation and fines.

“It’s a very competitive business, but that’s no excuse, and it doesn’t make what we did right,” said company spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne. “So today, we took the step of being accountable for this and trying to put this episode behind us so we can move forward and be the successful and responsible company that we have always been.”

The company said it has taken steps to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again.

Huftalen said he hopes the case sends a message that federal officials don’t limit their prosecutions to just Fortune 500 companies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.