Press Releases

Browse our press release archive

15 May 2006

Jail for man who spied on his boss at Department of Education

Spyware gave employee unauthorized access to government computers

Behind bars
Kwak has been sentenced to five months in jail.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have reminded companies of internal security risks as it is reported that a man has been sentenced to jail for using spyware against his boss.

34-year-old Kenneth Kwak, a system auditor who had been working on the computer security of the US Department of Education, admitted placing spyware software on his supervisor's PC which enabled him to access emails and other information. Kwak, of Chantilly, Virginia, then shared the information he gathered with others in his office.

"The US Government has adopted a 'zero tolerance' policy regarding intrusions into its computer systems, and a clear message is being sent out to its staff that hacks like this are not just unacceptable but also criminal," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "All organizations should put measures in place to reduce the risks - not only of external attack by malware and internet hackers, but also of the threats which may exist on their payroll."

US District Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced Kwak to five months in prison, followed by five months of electronically monitored home confinement. Kwak has also been ordered to pay the US government $40,000, and will be on probation for three years.

"Kwak should be thankful that no evidence was found that his hack was financially motivated, as that surely saved him from a stiffer jail term," continued Cluley.

Sophos continues to recommend that computer users ensure their anti-virus software is up-to-date, and that companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend them from the threats of viruses, spam and spyware.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at