A successful property newspaper has collapsed after one of its former directors turned computer hacker and deliberately deleted over 5,000 files from the publication’s Dropbox account.
A Leeds court has heard that Danielle Bulley, a former director of Property Press - publishing a weekly property newspaper in the westcountry - spent over five hours hacking into the account and deleting the files in an act of revenge.
Outside court, police said the victim - Alan Marriott, another director of Property Press - claimed the attack had led to the collapse of the publication and his company, and had caused job losses.
Property Press started in the mid-2010s covering parts of south east Devon; it originally had agreements with eight sales and four lettings agencies before expanding further.
Marriott is quoted as saying it had a net return of some £5,000 per weekly issue.
Bulley, who had no previous convictions, was given an 18 month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work, after being convicted under the rarely-used Computer Misuse Act 1990.
The York Press, covering the court case, quotes Detective Constable Steven Harris of North Yorkshire Police’s Cyber Crime Unit as saying: “During our investigation, it became clear that Bulley had left the original company on a bad note, but the deletion of thousands of files containing vital information was catastrophic for the victim.
“It dealt the new business a blow from which it never recovered. Ex-employees can pose a serious risk to a business because they are familiar with the company’s IT infrastructure and procedures. This can make it easier for them to carry out cyber crimes against their former organisation.
“We encourage businesses to ensure they have policies in place for removing user accounts and changing passwords when an employee leaves an organisation.”