A man who wanted a job with the Marriott hotel chain had a wizard wheeze to get a foot in the door.
Attila Nemeth, a 26 year-old Hungarian hacked into the company’s servers and threatened to expose its personal data, if the outfit did not give him a job.
Well, to be fair to him, it did grab the bosses’ attention but unfortunately, Mr Marriott just got on the blower and called Inspector Knacker of the Yard.
Nemeth pleaded guilty to a charge of hacking into Marriott computer systems, and threatening to reveal confidential company information he obtained if Marriott didn’t offer him a job.
Nemeth sent an email to Marriott personnel, letting them know that he had been accessing the company’s computers for months and had obtained proprietary company information.
When they ignored him, Nemeth sent another email, this time containing eight documents, seven of which were confirmed as documents stored on Marriott’s systems. In the email he threatened to reveal the information he obtained if Marriott did not give him a job in the company’s IT department.
In November, Marriott worked with the US Secret Service to create the identity of fictitious Marriott employee for the use by the Secret Service in an undercover operation to communicate with Nemeth.
Nemeth thought he was talking to Marriott HR personnel, and continued to call and email the undercover agent. He went so far as emailing a copy of his Hungarian passport to prove his identification and have travel arranged to the United States.
Nemeth flew to Washington in January on an airline ticket purchased by Marriott for him, for what he thought would be a job interview with Marriott personnel. He was “interviewed” by a Secret Service agent posing as a Marriott employee.
During the course of the “interview,” Nemeth admitted that he accessed Marriott’s computer systems; stole Marriott’s confidential and proprietary information; and initiated the emails to Marriott threatening to publicly release Marriott’s data unless he was given a job on his terms by Marriott.
Apparently he gained access using malware sent via email to specific employees at Marriott.
Marriott claims that it cost between $400,000 and $1 million in salaries, consultant expenses and other costs to fix the hack.
According to Security Week, Nemeth faces a decade in prison for the transmission of the malicious code and up to five years for threatening to expose confidential and proprietary information.