Cybersecurity staff plead guilty to hacking rivals
Fri 22 Jul 2016
Five employees of UK infosec company Quadsys confessed to hacking into a rival company’s database, allegedly to obtain customer information and pricing data. All five, including the company owner, pleaded guilty to unauthorized access to computer materials – an offense which could carry a prison sentence of up to five years.
Appearing at Oxford Crown Court today, the owner, MD, director, account manager and security consultant of the cybersecurity firm “pleaded guilty to obtaining unauthorized access to computer materials to facilitate the commission of an offence,” the court clerk told the Register.
The five employees were arrested in March of 2015 by the Thames Valley Police in conjunction with the National Crime Agency and the South East Regional Organized Crime Unit, and held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit computer misuse offenses, including unauthorized access and acquisition of criminal property.
They were eventually charged in August, when a judge reduced their sentence to conspiracy to commit fraud with false representation. Last March, they pleaded not guilty to securing unauthorized access to computer material with intent; however, a charge of unauthorized access without intent was added, and is still active.
All five will be sentenced at a hearing on September 9, at which time the charge addressing intent will be heard. Sentencing for violations of Section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act carries a minimum sentence of 12 months in prison or a fine, with a maximum of five years or a fine upon indictment.
Last year, managing director Paul Cox pleaded not guilty to an additional charge of blackmail. In March, the defendants requested that the charges relating to Section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act be thrown out, a motion that was denied by the presiding judge in May. After three plea hearings and case reviews, and months of wrangling, the final plea of guilty was entered in court today.
Quadsys is a leading supplier of security software, anti-virus products, virus products, hardware, infrastructure and associated services. is a UK-based reseller of cybersecurity and IT products, carrying certifications from Intel and from Kaspersky, and a Sophos Gold Partner.