A Massachusetts man plead guilty on charges of foreign economic espionage on Tuesday after selling trade secrets from his former employer to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer.
According to an Associated Press report, Elliot Doxer, 43, of Brookline, Massachusetts, arranged a “dead drop” location with Special Agent James Cromer, through which they exchanged information on more than 62 occasions in the 18 months between September 2007 and March of 2009.
Among the data transmitted was full employee and customer contact information. Doxer also described Akamai’s physical and network security structure, and offered to travel to Israel to support any related operations, according to the AP.
Doxer initiated his plot in June of 2006, while he was working for Akamai Technologies, a Cambridge based company specializing in Internet content delivery, by sending an email to the Israeli consulate. In that email, Doxer told the consulate that he was a Jewish American living in Boston and presumed the consulate would be interested in information he could provide to them, including contact information on Akamai’s important international clients.
Unfortunately for Doxer, the Israeli Consulate, based out of Boston, did not take him up on his offer, but instead contacted the FBI.
In his plea documents, Doxer claimed his actions were motivated by a desire to “help our homeland and our war against our enemies.” He now faces a maximum sentence of 15 years and $500,000 in fines. His sentencing is set for November 30.
Though malicious insiders are often motivated by greed or financial need, Doxer had other motives. He initially asked for a few thousand dollars, but in another letter from March 2008, he said he would be willing to accept less money in exchange for pictures of his son who was living in Israel at the time with his estranged wife. He went on:
“His mother is a terrible human being and has caused me tremendous suffering. Not enough bad things can happen to her if you know what I mean.”
Cases like these are a constant reminder to corporations that disgruntled employees are a major source of data breaches and other compromises.