Man jailed for attack on Aviva’s phones

Article Source: Insurance Age

Richard Neale sentenced to 18 months in jail following hack into 900 mobile phones belonging to Aviva employees.

A former computer firm boss who hacked into 900 mobile devices belonging to Aviva employees has been jailed for 18 months after a case at Guilford Crown Court, according to reports.

Richard Neale, 40, of Stoke Road, Guildford, carried out the attack on Aviva’s mobile devices in May 2014 and was, as previously reported by Insurance Age, charged under the Computer Misuse Act by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).

Neale worked at IT company Esselar, which ran the security network for Aviva, and according to the Daily Mail, he hacked the mobile devices as revenge after leaving the company following a bitter fall-out.

Loss
According to SEROCU, the attack on Aviva resulted in financial loss for the insurer after hundreds of mobile devices were wiped of data.

Neale was charged on three counts of unauthorised acts with the intent to impair the operation of, or prevent access to, a computer and one count of unauthorised access to computer material.

According to the Daily Mail article, Judge Neil Stewart sentenced Neale yesterday.

He said Neale’s actions had “damaged confidence and reputations in a way that can be far-reaching and serious”.

Revenge
The article noted that Fiona Alexander, for the prosecution, had said: “The aim of the attack was to ridicule Esselar.

“There was a degree of sophisticated planning. The offending persisted over a period of five months. The defendant was motivated by revenge: a serious aggravating feature. There was a grave breach of trust.”

She added: “It wasn’t intended to target just Esselar but also MobileIron and Aviva. Over 900 devices were wiped by the defendant’s actions.”

Overnight issue
An Aviva spokesperson told Insurance Age: “The issue was specific to some of our employees’ mobile devices and no Aviva business or customer data was affected.

“It was an overnight issue and by the start of the next day we had restored the affected devices.”

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