The CEO of a technology company hacked and spied on its competitors

According to data protection specialists, corporate espionage is becoming a way too common practice and has also evolved with the inclusion of new technologies. This time, the CEO of a technology company currently based in San Francisco, US, has been charged with four illegal intrusions into a protected computer equipment crimes.

Jonathan Manzi, 28-years-old, turned himself in to justice a few weeks ago and, although he is free for now, still faces a court case brought in the U.S. District Court.

Data protection experts mention that Manzi was accused of accessing an individual’s Google account, as well as the Dropbox account of Wepa Inc., Manzi’s company’s main competitor, for the purpose of obtaining useful information to outperform their competitor income in profits. It is estimated that the value of the information obtained is around $5k USD.

Manzi is CEO of Ink Labs Inc, which produces printing kiosks used at some universities and technology company Beyond Protocol. After the University of Nebraska-Lincoln decided not to renew its contract with Ink Labs, Wepa was awarded those contracts, which would have led to this corporate espionage campaign. 

If found guilty, Manzi could receive a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $250k USD. On the other hand, Manzi’s defense, led by attorney John Berry, declared: “Mr. Manzi has pleaded not guilty. He maintains that he has committed no crime and for now awaits the day of his trial.”

Although the company had moved to Lincoln a couple of years ago, after what the CEO called a “hostile takeover attempt by some investors,” the company returned to trading in San Francisco.

This is not the most recent known case of corporate espionage. According to data protection specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) it was reported a case of espionage a few weeks ago involving two prestigious financial companies. The case has already brought undesirable consequences, such as the suicide of one of the alleged operators of the espionage campaign and the resignation of at least two high-ranking officials.