AT&T is filing a lawsuit against three of its employees for installing software on company hardware that gives out unlocking codes for AT&T mobile devices. The three employees were hired by a company, Swift Unlocks, to download the malware and were offered $2,000 a week for their compliance.
Many carriers sell smartphones at low prices, but gain back the money by putting locks on the phones that won’t allow them to work on other carriers’ networks, and only give out the locks when customers fulfill their contracts. But, some websites give out phone unlock codes at low prices, which allows them to use their phone on any provider. The prices these websites charge are normally $20 or less, and an unlocked phone is worth substantially more than a locked one. Though, unlocking a cellphone still under contract isn’t illegal, the employees’ involvement in this affair does violate their contracts.
AT&T first discovered something was awry in Sept. 2013, when a large amount of unlock requests were received and caused company suspicion towards the misuse of an unlocking software called “Torch”.
The employees were reportedly contacted by Swift Unlocks to put malware on their company computers so that Swift Unlocks could secretly get unlock codes for phones that were still under AT&T’s contracts. Allegedly, one of the employees made upwards of $20,000 from this affair. AT&T is also filing a suit against Swift Unlocks, saying that it had obtained “hundreds of thousands” of unlock codes. The suits AT&T is filing include computer fraud, breach of loyalty and civil conspiracy. As of now, swiftunlocks.com is still online.