Karen Enabofio has avoided a jail term for hacking into her company’s computers to look at other employees’ pay packets
An embittered office worker hacked the leading private hospital where she worked so she could find out her colleagues’ wages.
Financial administrator Karen Enabofio, 43, broke into restricted data on the staff payroll after discovering a ‘back door’ on the network.
The mother of one obtained details of the various salaries paid to fellow employees at the Cygnet Hospital in Bury, Greater Manchester, as well as personal data of patients.
The hospital, which has previously treated celebrities mental health issues, only discovered the 2015 breach in December last year when Enabofio, from Tottington, quit her job after three years in the post.
Enabofio avoided an immediate jail term on a suspended sentence after admitting an offence under the Computer Misuse Act.
A judge accepted she had not hacked the system for her own financial gain, but to ‘put her mind at rest’.
Prosecutor Steve Woodman had told the court: ‘She was employed at the hospital in Bury which in the past has had high profile patients, celebrities and people of high interest.
‘Obviously for these reasons the hospital has high level security, and there are also young people young vulnerable people in their care. Privacy of patients and staff is of a high priority.’
He added: ‘The defendant had been working in the finance department for three and a half years prior to this offending… but on December 17 last year she handed in her resignation.
‘Following the defendant leaving the company, management became aware that the defendant had deleted her work files and financial documents the hospital would need in the future.
‘The financial department went into a panic. The IT department restored the deleted files and management feeling that the defendant had something to hide also restored her deleted emails.
‘When that was done the IT departments discovered various emails from the defendants work email to her home email.
‘Attached to those emails was the personal data of clients and payroll information about other staff.
‘This was all sent to her personal email address. As a result of this it was reported to the police.’
When confronted by police, she said that the reason she had done it was due to a ‘grievance with her pay’
In mitigation for Enabofio, defence lawyer Helen Longworth said: ‘The information was taken so she would ease her mind. However her mind was not eased, and that she acted out of paranoia and obsession and the desire to control something in her traumatic life.
‘Their own IT department rectified the issue and it cost them no money… the motive for this offending was her severe obsession and control.
‘She was concerned about her work and promises of a pay rise or a promotion that never appeared. There was an extremely difficult home life situation that she had to deal with at the time.’
Enabofio was sentenced to twelve weeks in prison suspended for a year, and will complete a maximum of 10 rehabilitation days.
She must also pay £115 victim surcharge and £85 in costs within 28 days.