It’s a brilliant scheme: sell your company, keep the proprietary data, create a competing organization and then hack into your old company’s network. That’s what happened when David Kent sold his company, Oilpro for $51 million in 2010.
“Instead of relinquishing control of his former company, subject David Kent continued to illegally access data and information from his former business to help benefit a competing business he formed after the sale,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said in a prepared statement.
According to the United State Attorney’s Office, the owner of Oilpro.com David Kent, pled guilty to “[…] one count of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization.” on Monday, December 19th.
Kent agreed to stay on as functioning President after ‘DHI Group Inc.’ had fully acquired the business, but left during September 2011; likely to work on his new project at the time known as ‘Oilpro.com’.
Why would he want to hack his own creation for customer records?
To gain an unfair edge in the industry. Kent initially built Rigzone.com as a networking tool for professionals working in the oil and gas industry. When he moved on to create Oilpro.com, he followed the same model, making his old company a direct competitor.
Kent wanted to boost his current company’s status by stealing information from 700,000 customer accounts associated with ‘DHI Group,’ Kent’s new competitor. He then proceeded to market Oilpro.com to the customers that were specifically attributed to the DHI Group; asking them to join Oilpro. Kent had a previous employee of ‘DHI Group’ send him the login information for their Google Analytics account.
Kent then did the unthinkable…:
After maliciously acquiring the proprietary data, Kent began urging an acquisition from DHI; alleging that his company had drastically increased its client base through ‘standard marketing methods’. Of course, this was completely false. Basically, Kent tried to sell his new company to the company he had just hacked.
The maximum penalty he can serve for this felony is 5 years, but there is yet to be an official ruling. Sentencing is scheduled for March 17th by Judge Cote.