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Israeli Trojan couple jailed
by Konstantin Kornakov | Mar 28 2006 13:52 GMT

Michael and Ruth Haephrati, who were charged in Israel in connection with a major industrial espionage investigation and recently extradited from Britain, have been found guilty and jailed for two and four years respectively. The Trojan-writing couple was also ordered to pay $427,000 in compensation.

The Haephratis were found guilty of creating and distributing a Trojan used in industrial espionage by some of the biggest companies in Israel. The Trojan was originally developed by Michael Haephrati as a prank, but the couple soon realised the potential it had and tried to market it to Israel's defence agencies. Having got nowhere with the authorities, the Haephratis offered their creation to private investigators, who readily snapped it up. These investigators, who worked for some of the biggest Israeli firms, later used the Trojan to spy on competitors. At the UK extradition hearing it was claimed that 45 companies sustained damages as a result of the operation of this Trojan.

The Haephratis reached a plea bargain a couple of weeks ago, according to Israeli media. Ruth Haefrati pleaded guilty to computer virus insertion, covert wiretapping, invasion of privacy and fraud. Michael Haephrati pleaded guilty to having been an accomplice to those crimes. Several private investigators have also been indicted on related charges.