Dec 3, 2015 12:43 PM

Somersworth company pleads guilty to hacking into a competitor's computers

CONCORD - A Somersworth company has pleaded guilty to hacking a competitor's computer to get information about their customers.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Donald Feith, General Linen Services LLC has entered a guilty plea, acknowledging its former IT director got computer login information for a Newburyport, Mass. competitor who shared a similar name: General Linen Services Co. Inc.

That information was shared with others at the Somersworth company and used by sales agents to steal customers from the competing company.

An FBI examination of the victim’s computer system proved that between September 2009 and April 8, 2010 there were 157 instances of unauthorized access and that the majority of those originated at the office of the defendant, General Linen Somersworth. Approximately 1,100 customer invoices were taken in the hacks.

"This case should stand as an example to all business in New Hampshire that the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office do not limit their investigations of computer hacking to Fortune 500 companies. All businesses are entitled to the safe and secure use of their computers and the Internet, and when hacking is suspected investigations and prosecutions will take place,” Feith said.

The company is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26 and faces a maximum sentence of 5 years’ probation, up to a $500,000 fine, and may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim, General Linen Newburyport.

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