Israel Uncovers Massive Computer Espionage

Trojan horse software was used by businesses and private investigators to pry into an unknown number of computers.

Eighteen people have been arrested, including a London couple accused of making the software. The scandal reaches all the way to some of Israel's top business people, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

In Great Britain, authorities arrested Michael Haephrati and his wife Ruth Brier-Haephrati last week. The two face extradition to Israel.

Others arrested include a top executive from a satellite TV company, security professionals working for two cellular providers, and a number of private investigators. Many of those arrested denied any wrongdoing.

The head of the fraud investigation team investigating the crime called it one of Israel's gravest scandals in industrial espionage. The alleged criminal activity includes a Volvo importer spying on computers belonging to a Volkswagen importer, and mobile phone and satellite TV providers keeping tabs on their competitors.

Computers outside of Israel may have been affected as well. Police will continue the investigation, and civil suits are likely to follow as victims discover the identities of those who misappropriated their data.

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