A former IT administrator is being sued by his former employer – Columbia Sportswear – for allegedly leaving backdoors on its network and using them to gain information which benefitted his new employer.
Michael Leeper worked for Columbia Sportswear between 2000 and 2014, where he became the senior director of technology infrastructure, reported Bleeping Computer.
In March 2014, he left to become the CTO at Denali Advanced Integration – an IT company.
Leeper allegedly left two backdoors on Columbia’s network when he departed, and used them over 700 times to search for information.
The backdoors had access to Columbia’s network via VPN and VDI connections.
Columbia claims Leeper used his access to gain insight into the company’s upcoming business decisions, especially those related to its IT infrastructure.
“This information allowed Leeper to gain a competitive advantage in his dealings as Denali CTO with his former employer,” stated the report.
When the backdoors were discovered in 2016, the FBI was called in to investigate, while Columbia conducted an internal investigation.
Denali has agreed to assist in the investigation and has fired Leeper for violating company policy, after it was discovered he used “a personal laptop that he acquired while employed by Columbia”.