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Ex-Exel president found guilty of hacking former employers

Turns out you really can't trust the boss

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The former president of transportation logistics firm Exel has been found guilty of hacking into the servers of his former employer to glean secrets for his new business.

A federal jury found Michael Musacchio, 61, guilty of one felony count of conspiracy to make unauthorized access to a protected computer (hacking) and two substantive felony counts of hacking. His two accomplices, Joseph Roy Brown and John Michael Kelly, have already pleaded guilty and the trio will be sentenced in June.

"Trial testimony and exhibits established that between 2004 and 2006, Musacchio, Brown, and Kelly engaged in a scheme to hack into Exel's computer system for the purpose of conducting corporate espionage," the FBI said in a statement.

"Through their repeated unauthorized accesses into Exel's e-mail accounts, the co-conspirators were able to obtain Exel's confidential and proprietary business information and use it to benefit themselves and their new employer."

Musacchio was promoted to president of Exel in 2002 and lasted for two years before leaving the firm to set up a rival in the same sector named Total Transportation Services. Over the next two years he and his two associates ran riot though Exel's servers, harvesting information about clients and operations.

It's unclear how much hacking Musacchio and his pals actually needed to do in this case, however. Based on this hack's experience, companies are very lax about shutting down old accounts from staff who have moved on (it took one former employer over six months), and Musacchio may have used this negligence to gain the information he was after.

He is now facing over a decade behind bars and financial ruin as a result of the case, although Total Transportation Services is still functioning, albeit with an entirely new management team. Neither it nor Exel responded to requests for comment. ®

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