Sacked worker used spyware to read former colleagues' emails

Filed Under: Law & order

I Spy

According to media reports, a British man who lost his IT job after lying about his career history and qualifications hacked into his former employees' network and planted spyware on colleagues' PCs.

46-year-old Julius Oladiran of South Norwood, London, lost his database developer job after his employers became suspicious about his lack of knowledge, and found that he had lied about having a master's degree and experience on top government projects.

Oladiran installed spyware on the small company's network, in an attempt to intercept email traffic about him, but was discovered when a worker noticed the cursor on his computer moving around the screen seemingly by its own accord.

The hacker also deleted some emails between his former colleagues, sabotaging a project which then lead to the lay-off of several workers.

In judgement Recorder Judge Andrew Baillie QC found Oladiran guilty of unauthorised computer access and making a false statement, and sentenced him to three months in jail, suspended for two years.

Oladiran was also ordered to pay the unnamed company £3,200 compensation.

This sordid little story is a salutary reminder that not all hacking is the work of international cybercrime gangs. Just because it's easy to spy on someone's computer should be no justification for installing spyware. Just as you wouldn't break into someone's house to rifle through their personal belongings, so you shouldn't spy on someone else's computer to see what they're doing, and what they are saying.

* Image source: Jovike's Flickr photostream (Creative Commons 2.0)

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About the author

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, and veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.