Former Cisco engineer indicted on hacking charges

A former Cisco engineer at the center of an extradition controversy has been indicted by a federal grand jury on computer hacking charges.

Peter Alfred-Adekeye faces five counts of illegally accessing Cisco's network after he left the company in 2005, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The indictment was handed down in the U.S. District Court in San Jose.

RERUN: Cisco accused of orchestrating engineer's arrest 

After Alfred-Adekeye left Cisco, he founded a company called Multiven to provide third-party service and support for Cisco equipment. Multiven then sued Cisco for anti-trust violations, claiming the company monopolized the business of servicing and maintaining Cisco equipment by forcing owners of gear to buy its SMARTnet service contracts in order to get regular software updates and bug fixes.

While giving his deposition in that case in Vancouver, Alfred-Adekeye was arrested and charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with 97 counts of intentionally accessing a protected computer system without authorization for the purposes of commercial advantage. The DoJ accused Alfred-Adekeye of using a Cisco employee's user ID and password to download software and access Cisco's restricted website, and sought to extradite him to the U.S.

But then the case took a bizarre twist. Canadian courts denied the extradition request after lambasting Cisco for deceiving it and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to believe Alfred-Adekeye was a flight risk based on the hacking charges, and that his extradition from Canada should be hastened - even though the damage of his alleged misdeeds was only $14,000.

Cisco tried to paint former employee Alfred-Adekeye as a "sinister" Nigerian trying to flee 97 hacking charges, even though Alfred-Adekeye is a British citizen of Nigerian descent. Indeed, when the extradition papers were filed, the Canadian judge found the documentation full of "innuendo, half truths, and complete falsehoods."

When Canadian authorities noted the connection between the Multiven suit and the hacking charges, they upbraided Cisco and the U.S. authorities for the trumped-up charges. The judge in the case, Ronald McKinnon, said the way the arrest was conducted - during Alfred-Adekeye's taped deposition and then videotaped for dramatic effect -- spoke "volumes for Cisco's duplicity."

Cisco and Multiven settled their case, but Alfred-Adekeye now faces these five hacking charges. The grand jury indictment appears to follow related criminal charges that have been under seal in federal court since last year, the Mercury News reports.

Alfred-Adekeye is currently in Switzerland with his family, and it is not known whether federal prosecutors are looking to extradite him back to the U.S. to face the new charges, the Mercury News reports. In a statement, Cisco said federal investigators have found Alfred-Adekeye violated federal laws in 97 instances and described the situation in Vancouver as "a matter between U.S. and Canadian governmental authorities," according to the Mercury News report.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Tags cybercrimelegalintrusion

Show Comments