Gordon Ramsay claims spyware used to hack into his email

Filed Under: Data loss, Law & order, Malware, Privacy

Gordon RamsayGordon Ramsay, the continually cussing celebrity chef who has won 12 Michelin stars, is suing members of his wife's family following claims that they used spyware to hack into his personal and company emails.

Chris Hutcheson, the father of Ramsay's wife Tana, was sacked as managing director of the dirty-mouthed dough puncher's restaurant empire last October, amid a blizzard of accusations from both sides.

According to media reports, Ramsay's High Court writ claims that, with the help of an IT expert called Kevin Fung, Hucheson and other members of his family stole passwords with keylogging spyware, and used them to access confidential emails.

Hmm.. I wonder if Ramsay had a four-letter password?

It is further claimed that Jennifer Aves-Eliott, Gordon Ramsay’s personal assistant, was also targeted - with spyware capturing 1,868 snapshots of what was appearing on her computer screen.

Gordon Ramsay Holdings confirmed last November that 46-year-old Fung, from Leyton, East London, had been suspended from his post at the company pending an IT investigation.

It doesn't sound to me like this is going to be a family feud that is ever going to be patched up.

If you want your own personal and business life to become less ugly than Gordon Ramsay's, then one thing I would recommend is ensuring that you and your staff are on their guard against malware attacks, and keep your defences up-to-date.

Of course, if your own IT team are against you, things get much much trickier..

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11 Responses to Gordon Ramsay claims spyware used to hack into his email

  1. Steve · 1179 days ago

    Add onto the end there...

    "If you want your own personal and business life to become less ugly than Gordon Ramsay's, then don't go into business with family"

  2. Adrienne Boswell · 1179 days ago

    I'm surprised he didn't notice the key logger. A long time ago, my girlfriend was trying to catch her boyfriend cheating on her, and thinking he would use my computer to not get caught, she installed a key logger on my computer. Well, I noticed it right away because my typing was just a wee bit slower than usual. This was an old XP machine, and my girlfriend had installed a TSR program, and after several reboots and much cussing, I caught the damn thing and killed it. I was very angry, so angry in fact, that I yelled at her in front of her boy friend, thereby alerting the boyfriend that she was on to him, and spoiling her chance at "catching" him.

    All the more reason for strong security, keeping the OS up to date, programs up to date, using strong passwords, and above all - not sharing your passwords with ANYONE, including your spouse or children.

    My seven year old son is very observant. I noticed him watching me as I keyed in the parental code for the TV. I changed it after he went to bed, and sure enough, the next morning, he was all frustrated because just when he thought he had it, he realized I had changed it. I make him turn his back when I put the Windows password, and that password is going to change pretty soon, too.

  3. vern · 1179 days ago

    AWKWARD!!!!

  4. nbst · 1179 days ago

    "Hmm.. I wonder if Ramsay had a four-letter password?"

    ...If a keylogger was used, it doesn't matter how strong the password was...

    • Apologies - maybe my humour wasn't clear.

      You're quite correct about keyloggers. My attempted joke was reliant on the reader knowing that Ramsay has a reputation for using four letter words..

  5. HELP ME SOPHOS! · 1178 days ago

    Well,what happend to Mr.Ramsey can happen to all of us.Even when your pc is completely up to date.Even when you have the best of the best antivirus,antispyware and firewall on your pc,even if you use regularly all kinds of well known online antivirus&antispyware scanners.In my case they finds only trackingcookies,still I know that people in my neighbourhod can see everything I do or say on my pc,webcam,e-mail. There do exist stealth spyware programs (which seems to use IBM-technology) which stay undetected by the well known scanners.I hereby invite the Sophos team to examine my pc's.Because at least on my Dell Inspiron desktop I don't see any hardware keylogger.Also on my Acer Aspire laptop I can't see any hardware keylogger but I don't dare to open my machine to look inside it. Even my telephone seems to been tapped by some peepz in my neighbourhood.Both internet and phone are through UPC cabletelevision internet&telephone.On both of my pc's I do use Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 8.I use Norton 360 5.0 since December 2010,before that I did use McAfee Internet Security 2010 as standard firewall and internet security.

  6. Mike D. · 1178 days ago

    Not all keyloggers can be detected. Hardware keyloggers need a physical check of the PC.

    Software might not show up on any 'running' list.

    There are hooks and even system driver programs that load.

    This story is worth a book. This has been going on for quite a while, and you have

    detectives, computer hacks, embezzlement and a WHOLE family conspiracy... stuff

    of Rock Star song lyrics... King Diamond...

  7. Fred · 1178 days ago

    Who the Hell gives a f...k

  8. reader · 1178 days ago

    "dirty-mouthed dough puncher's" - Didn't expect to see that expression on this security blog. Let the Daily Mail handle the hyperbole? Otherwise, thanks, interesting story.

    • Charles Grotin · 1176 days ago

      Agreed. Too much attention to that aspect, not enough technical detail or "security aspects" (which I was told by El Reg I would find). This is my first contact with this "superblog" (awards and all that), and I find today's post wanting.
      Since I'm in web candy mode, I think I need to go over to the Mail site, need to see some hyperbolas and hyperbole.

  9. Terry Cramer · 1167 days ago

    You have to understand something, Gordon Ramsay is a world renown chef, not a computer IT person. This kind of thing can happen even to the best Computer Programmers out there.
    He relied on other's to handle the business side of things.
    He has so many Television shows, new restaurants opening all the time, choosing who will run these restaurants, making sure his skills are kept sharp, tons of publicity junkets and so on.
    He strikes me as the kind of man who likes to keep his eye on every aspect of his corporation. Hence the law suit against the father in law. He has worked so hard for everything he has, and for trusted members of his family or staff to back door him this way is unconscionable.
    I wish you well Mr. Ramsay

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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.