Real estate agents accused of hacking into rival's account

Filed Under: Data loss, Law & order

Three estate agents (known as realtors in the United States) have been charged with hacking into a rival's account in Rockingham, North Carolina.

Between March 1st and March 20th, three agents with RE/MAX Tri City Realty of Rockingham are accused of illegally accessing a Hotmail email account belonging to Nicole Hayden of rival firm Exit Realty. Two of the accused agents, Jamie Moss-Godfrey, 43, and 40-year-old Kim Dawn Whitley, are listed as the owners of RE/Max Tri City Realty.

The alleged victim, realtor Nicole Hayden, was described by journalists as still being in shock.

The website of real estate agent Nicole Hayden

Whether you're a business small or large, or just use a computer for personal use, you must take proper care of information security to ensure that your usernames and passwords remain private, and don't fall into the wrong hands.

The true facts in this case are still to emerge, but there have been incidents in the past where companies have used the tactics of cybercriminals to spy upon their commercial rivals and try and seek an advantage. As competition gets stiffer and we see more firms struggling during the credit crunch we shouldn't be surprised if we see workers in some firms break the law to keep their necks above water.

What people need to realise is that unauthorised access of someone else's computer system is a crime, and can carry stiff penalties. It may feel quite different to type in someone else's username and password into a PC than to break into an office in the dead of night to rifle through their filing cabinets, but it's still against the law.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a 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.