Doctor suing hackers

by John O'Brien |
Apr. 5, 2006, 4:59am

CHARLESTON - A Charleston doctor is suing unknown hackers who she says misidentified themselves as her several times early this year.

Jane Maloof claims the hackers started a myspace.com personal profile page and acted as Maloof on several instant messenger conversations in a lawsuit filed March 31 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The case lists two John Does and two Jane Does as defendants, but Maloof Attorney David Barnette says the real defendants will be named soon.

"We filed the civil action so we could get subpoenas to serve on google and myspace for the purpose of finding out who opened the accounts," Barnette said. "Listing John Does in a case like this is really just a mechanism to obtain subpoenas."

Barnette said he served google.com and myspace.com with subpoenas Wednesday for the purpose of finding the hackers' Uniform Resource Locater addresses.

"Defendants posed as Maloof engaged in a series of instant messages with other persons and demonstrating a knowledge of her business, business practices and proposed changes at the place where Dr. Maloof works," the complaint said. "That took place utilizing an e-mail address fraudulently obtained from google."

Barnette said the defendants discussed fairly complicated computer issues and trade secret information during the instant messages. They incorrectly listed Maloof as divorced on her myspace.com page, which led to Maloof discovering the problem.

"Defendants disclosed a password, identifying code, personal identification or other confidential information about a computer security system… to engage in fraudulent activities misidentifying themselves, and who made contact with another person without disclosing his or her true identity with the intent to harass or abuse, and in particular, to disseminate trade secrets regarding the business practices of Dr. Maloof," the complaint says.

Barnette is also representing WeSave Inc., a North Carolina corporation, in a similar suit.

"It's just electronic stalking and identity theft," he said. "That's especially dangerous when a physician is involved."

Judge Charlie King has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-599

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