Trojan horse couple indicted

Ruth and Michael Haephrati have been accused of involvement in industrial espionage.

The Office of the State Attorney today filed charges with the Tel Aviv District Court against the couple Ruth and Michael Haephrati. The office has also asked that the couple be remanded until the end of proceedings.

The Haephrati couple are charged with numerous offences related to industrial espionage. Ruth Haephrati is to be charged with aggravated fraud, inserting material and viruses into a computer (the Trojan horse), unlawful wire tapping, invasion of privacy and unlicensed management of a database. Michael Haephrati is to be charged with aiding and abetting his wife in the committing of the offences listed above.

According the indictment, Michael Haephrati conceived and developed the Trojan horse software back in 2000 and subsequently attempted to offer it lawfully to various security bodies. In mid-2004, he used Ruth Haephrati, who handled the marketing activities, to contact the private investigators involved in the affair, with a view to using the software for criminal purposes. The investigators in question used the software to access information regarding competitors or other private entities, on behalf of their corporate or private clients.

The State Attorney’s office stressed that the investigation into the companies and individuals who commissioned the industrial espionage was ongoing. It also listed the types of data that had been accessed by the Trojan horse software used to hack into victims’ computers. These include documents created using word processing software, electronic spread sheets, slide presentations, scanned documents and others. The material accessed by the hackers contained expensive and sensitive intellectual property.

The Trojan horse also provided real-time sensitive images of material being viewed on hacked computers as well as of recordings of voice communications conducted between infected machines.

Also accessed were email correspondence, passwords typed on the keyboards of hacked computers, a list of all texts typed on them, as well as lists of archived files and websites visited.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on March 5, 2006

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