Threat Management, Threat Intelligence, Incident Response, TDR

New Hampshire company hacks smaller competitor for customer list

A linen services company in New Hampshire pleaded guilty to hacking into the computer server of a similarly named, but smaller competitor.

The company, General Linen Services, LLC (DBA General Linen Somersworth) pleaded guilty under U.S. Code Title 18, Section 1030, the U.S. legislation that governs fraud and related activities.

The company stole over 1,000 invoices in an effort to steal customers, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statement. The FBI stated that “between September 2009 and April 8, 2010 there were 157 instances of unauthorized access to the victim company's computer system and that the majority of those intrusions originated at the office of the defendant, General Linen Somersworth.”

The victim, General Linen Services Co. Inc., based in Newburyport, Massachusetts, used the same software vendor, web portal, and the companies used the same default passwords, according to local news reports.

“My client, General Linen of Newburyport, Mass., is a small, family-owned business,” said James F. Laboe, the attorney for General Linen Services Co. Inc., in a statement obtained by “General Linen of Somersworth is probably 10 times the size of my client, yet they intentionally hacked into my client's website to steal their most valuable asset, its customer information.”

The former IT director shared the login information with others at General Linen Services, LLC, who repeatedly accessed the competitor's computer system, the FBI stated. “Competition is a healthy part of business, but theft and deception is inexcusable,” the Massachusetts-based company wrote on its website, in a note to its clients.

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