Columbia Sportswear Accuses Former IT Employee Of Hacking

Steven Trader reports:

 Columbia Sportswear Co. on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Oregon federal court accusing a former employee in its information technology department of illegally hacking into its computer system after he resigned and assessing highly confidential company information for the benefit of the company’s business partner that hired him.

You can read more on Law360 if you have a subscription.

I don’t have a subscription, so I downloaded the complaint from PACER. It begins:

This case concerns a flagrant invasion of Columbia’s and its employees’ privacy by a technology consulting firm that secretly and repeatedly hacked into Columbia’s private computer network, including several employees’ private company email accounts. That firm, Denali, is a Washington-based “IT provider” and former vendor to Columbia. Leeper, who works as Denali’s Chief Technology Officer (“CTO”), is the Denali employee who committed the hacking.

Before joining Denali, Leeper held a high-level position in Columbia’s Information Technology (“IT”) Department. By virtue of his position, Leeper had nearly unlimited access to Columbia’s private computer network, including the thousands of secure “” email accounts used by Columbia employees around the world. However, in mid-February 2014, Leeper accepted an executive position with Denali and notified Columbia that he would resign. As with all departing employees, Columbia terminated Leeper’s regular network account when his employment ended. However, on March 2, 2014—one day before his last day of employment—Leeper created a separate, unauthorized network account under a false name, “Jeff Manning,” called “jmanning.” Using the jmanning account, Leeper could continue to access Columbia’s private computer network after his resignation.

Over approximately the next two and a half years, and without Columbia’s knowledge or consent, Leeper secretly hacked into the private company email accounts of numerous Columbia employees, and, on information and belief, into other parts of Columbia’s private computer network. He did so hundreds of times.

Of course, those are just allegations at this point. There are two counts to the complaint: the first is under the CFAA (18 U.S. Code § 1030 et seq.). The second count is under the Wiretap Act (18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq.) alleging interceptions of e-mail messages.

You can read the rest of the complaint, because I’ve uploaded it here.

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