Are retailers vulnerable to hacks from within?
Columbia Sportswear has filed suit against a former employee, alleging he hacked into the company’s e-mail system for more than two years so that he could gain access to information that would help his new employer land additional work.
Michael Leeper, according to the suit, gained access to the e-mails of senior executives and IT staff at Columbia, through a backdoor he created before leaving the company for Denali Advanced Integration. Mr. Leeper allegedly hacked into Columbia’s system nearly 700 times in total, acts that would put him and Denali in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Columbia is said to have discovered a fake account while upgrading its e-mail system last summer that it alleges was set up by Mr. Leeper. At the time, Columbia alerted the FBI while also conducting an internal investigation.
Denali, which has also been named in the suit, issued a statement pledging its cooperation in the investigation and announcing that Mr. Leeper has been placed on leave from the company. “These claims astonish us, and they in no way reflect Denali or its values,” said the firm’s CEO Majdi Daher.
Corporate hacking, as a report by The Oregonian points out, has become a huge business with a cost of $445 billion to the global economy in 2016.
- Columbia says it was hacked for 2 years in lawsuit against ex-staffer – The Oregonian
- Columbia Sportswear Accuses Former Employee of Hacking – Law 360
- Ex penetrated us almost 700 times through secret backdoor, biz alleges – The Register
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think hacking conducted by employees is more prevalent than generally assumed? Do retailers have enough safeguards in place to protect systems from internal threats? What lessons can others learn from the Columbia Sportswear case?