After 20 years of business I never expected that this could happen to me. But now it did.
First of all, I am sorry if friends, partners or customers are involved in attacks to my person and company. I deeply concerned that you are get roped into a struggle with a former employee of our company. At the end this struggle ends into cyber attacks to harm customer, my company, my family and at the end myself.
Hacker-2 (c) iaBeta / flickr – CC License
Let me tell you some few words what happened and why I am posting about this incident:
Sometimes ago we hired a developer to support our project team. Nothing unusual on this. He worked on project and did his code sprints. First sprints were fine. Nothing to complain. After a while I recognized fails on quality and delivery on time. Also not unusual, sometimes this happens.
In lean management philosophy it’s important to identify reasons of fail in quality management and to solve problems. So we did a review of the developer team reports and delivery. By that we recognized problems of one developer. Also nothing unusual at this time. Just simple review reports and the deliveries to get failures corrected.
But at this stage something unexpected was happening. The developer did not react on my concerns. Even more he was claiming for correct delivery and was slipping problems to other persons and circumstances. No chance to talk reasonable.
So I did, what I hate most: stop working with that guy and my team was fixing the remaining quality problems.
At this point the story could have an end. I didn’t know that this becomes a new journey.
First of all: the developer did not accept to be set out of duty. Also he was claiming money. We offered to settle but he refused.
Then he started to yell threaten towards me and our development team: he will disclosure code, if we do not pay. I am not susceptible to blackmail. And of course we always have Non Disclosure Agreements with all our developers. So I refused to talk further about that case.
A week later this happened: packages of code from customer projects had been placed on GIT HUB and BITBUCKET. Also customers had been informed by and russian E-Mail account that we as “digital worx” are publishing this code. I can only imagine that this was done in a blackout – as no one with a normative mindset will try to force his interests in that way. The source of this action was clear as the sources published had been a date before we set free the developer.
So we did several actions:
- check if disclosures are critical (it’s not the productive codebase – but at all it’s a disclosure…)
- Start abuse reports
- Contact the developer and set an ultimatum to remove the content from the web, otherwise we will report the case to the police.
The content was removed. And this could be the end of this sad story.
But today I had to realized that there is no way to settle on a rational level. The attacks by the former developer starting again. And even on a broader attack than before by trying not only to hit my customers or company. Today he tried attack my family.
It’s the first time I get cyber stalked. And I believe the best way to defend are not attorneys or the police. The best way is talk frankly about it with you – the web.
Several things happened today:
- First the known pattern to publish again the old customer codes and sending E-Mails in the name of our company.
- Second publishing fake advertisements on websites with personal contact addresses.
- Third writing fake E-Mails to contacts of my partner, accusing him to be criminal in the past
- Fourth publishing a website with picture of me and a text where I am accused to raped prostitutes in the past
It’s impossible to defend just in time by that kind of cyber stalking, blackmail and fake news. I know the web and that it takes time to remove such offending fake content – or the impossibility to get rid of it.
So it’s the best way to talk about this experience. With you: my friends, colleagues, partners, customers and my wife. I’ve got a great feedback of you all. To resist this kind of stalking by talking frankly about the uncomfortable personal experience.
Thanks for this overwhelming response.
Of course legal actions are on the way. But as this will take time I am glad to have you all on the backup.
Mirko Ross, CEO, digital worx