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20:30 on Saturday
16 August 2003

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Employers Warned of Cyber Revenge


Local employers have been warned to beware of ‘cyber-revenge’ attacks from ex-employees and encouraged to ensure they have protected themselves as far as possible.

The warning comes from city-based lawyers Hegarty & Co - www.hegarty.co.uk - who went on to explain how easy it was to mount an attack on an unsuspecting company:

Partner Martin Bloom, said: “Over the past few months we have had a number of cases where ex-employees have tried to take some form of revenge on ex-employers.  One of the ways they try to do this is to register a domain name very similar to that of their ex-employers, with a view to attempting to force them to pay large sums of money for it, or putting defamatory views on the site.  Often the organisation will only find out about this by chance and by then of course it could be too late an cost a large amount of money to sort out.”

Martin went on to say that much of the law in the area of the Internet is just being formed, so any actions could prove expensive for employers: “There have been a few cases where people have tried to register trading names of ex-employers.  Fortunately, the general result has been that they have had to give them up, because their clear intentions were less than honest.  The problem is of course, that even if this is the case a firm will still have to pay money to correct the situation, which needn’t have been spent with a little thought.”

Martin advised firms to check the domain names they had registered and if they can think of any derivative that could be useful to anyone, to register it: “It costs just a few pounds to register a domain name, which is a small price to pay for any organisation compared to being ‘held to ransom’ by a disgruntled employee.  It’s amazing how many large organisations in the UK have been caught out by this, and have unfortunately paid the cost.  There are even now some high street names whose domains are not held by them and they are no doubt suffering as a result.”

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