Hyderabad: IT firms in the city are facing a problem — disgruntled employees who steal their confidential tech blueprints and sell them to rival firms. Source code theft, leaking confidential information, hacking databases, and denial of service (DoS) attacks on IT company websites are frequently reported to cyber crime police in the city. Over 101 such cases were reported last year in Hyderabad.
Source codes of new smartphone and computer applications were stolen and sold to other companies. Most of the suspects in these cases are either exiting employees or former employees. The cases mostly occur in small IT firms where there are no effective security systems, police said. As a standard practice most IT firms sign non-disclosure agreements with software developers as they deal with confidential material that could be patented in future.
In some cases, software developers working on a project steal or leak information to another client to earn money or to get even with employers. The suspects do this either when they are on notice period or after leaving the company. Some suspects even leave the country after pocketing huge amounts. A large number of cases are highly technical and cybercrime cops take time to solve them. “Violation of non-disclosure agreements, copyright violations, hacking, and data theft are the charges we slap on suspects under the IT Act. These are highly technical, and it is very difficult to collect evidence,” said a cyber crime police officer. So, conviction rates in these cases are low.
“These cases are reported mostly from startups and small firms, where they have no effective security,” said an officer. However, techies say that all police cases are not factual. One of the accused, a 28-year-old techie, who was booked by Cyberabad cyber crime police, said that he was framed by his former employer. “I quit his organisation to start a new venture. We got a rented room and started working on an application. We developed our own app with a new code. But, when my employer got to know that I was working on a project that would compete with theirs he approached the police and filed a false complaint. They just wanted to intimidate us so that we are forced to drop our project,” said the techie, who pleaded anonymity as the case is in court.