Prosecutors: Ex-employee hacked, damaged North suburban company's computers

Daily Herald report
Updated 12/14/2017 12:53 PM

An information technology specialist from Chicago is facing federal charges alleging he hacked into the computer servers of a North suburban company last year and damaged its operations.

Edward Soybel, 34, faces 10 counts of intentionally causing damage to protected computers, one count of attempting to cause damage to protected computers, and one count of attempting to access a protected computer without authorization, the U.S. attorney's office announced.

According to federal prosecutors, Soybel illegally accessed the servers of Lake Forest-based W.W. Grainger Inc., on multiple occasions last year and intentionally damaged its automated inventory management program, which operates on-site dispensing machines. The dispensing machines provide customers with secure access to durable products, such as safety equipment, and have approximately 18,000 customers throughout the United States, authorities said.

Soybel had worked as a technical support contractor at Grainger's facility in Niles from November 2014 until he was terminated in early 2016, according to prosecutors.

He was arrested Wednesday morning and later pleaded not guilty to the charges. He remained in federal custody Thursday afternoon.

Intentionally causing damage to protected computers and attempting to cause damage are each punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while attempting to access a protected computer without authorization is punishable by up to one year in prison, authorities said.

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