A Sydney-based tool company has said it plans to sue a competitor after allegedly having its email hacked in the aim of accessing sensitive information to gain a competitive edge.
The company in question, Sydney Tools has said it has plans to sue its competitor Total Tools for the alleged email hack.
Sydney Tools says that its email system was compromised in 2019, and suspects Total Tools is responsible for an attempt at gaining insight into its operations ahead of key announcements to the market.
It’s alleged that Total Tools’ CEO Paul Dumbrell, Chairman Warren Jones and franchisee Anthony Soccio were complicit in the plan to hack Sydney Tool’s email system.
Sydney Tools says that franchisee Anthony Soccio obtained an email password from an individual that previously worked at Sydney Tools, where they accessed emails with corporate information and the company’s strategic plans.
Sydney Tools says that these emails were shared around internally “so the emails could be read, analysed and used to inform Total Tools’ head office’s commercial decisions,” ahead of Sydney Tools’ official announcements.
“Total Tools’ head office conducted the scheme without Sydney Tools’ knowledge or consent and deliberately kept the scheme secret from Sydney Tools,” the company alleges.
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Sydney Tools also claims that its competitor continued “contacting a number of suppliers of products to Sydney Tools that were identifiable from the emails, and implementing advertising, product drives and other initiatives to compete against the planned promotions and initiatives of Sydney Tools that were revealed in the emails.”
Paul Dumbrell, CEO of Total Tools denies allegations of hacking Sydney Tools’ email system, and has said that his company will fight the claims in court.
“No email system was hacked. Sydney Tools failed to close or shut down a staff member’s email who had left the company, so there was no hacking as alleged,” he told Inside Retail.
“The emails in question were broad mailings to a staff member within stores and weren’t commercially sensitive. Clearly, we will vigorously defend the matter as it goes on,” Dumbrell added.
The case is set to be heard in court on November 5, 2020.
According to a report from Inside Retail, Sydney Tools announced expansion plans last year that anticipated 40 additional stores around Australia by 2024.
Jason Bey, director of Sydney Tools said at the time that the company had “a massive ‘runway’ ahead of us. Australia, like the US, has a large ‘tradie’ market so we’re confident with our expansion plan.” Bey added that the company had just “finished implementing a range of new software systems which fits in with our program.”
Total Tools was purchased by Metcash in a $57 million deal in June, which would see Metcash float Total Tools with $35 million for its growth plans.