Danville exec arrested for allegedly hacking competitor

Choicelunch CFO out on bail, due in court next week

Taking the term food fight to a whole new level, an executive at Danville-based Choicelunch, a company that prepares and serves meals to schools throughout the state, has been arrested on suspicion of hacking into a competitor’s website, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

Keith Wesley Cosbey, the chief financial officer at Choicelunch, was arrested in his Danville home on April 18 on charges of unauthorized computer access for illegally hacking one of his company’s regional competitors, San Carlos-based LunchMaster, according to sheriff's spokesperson Det. Rosemerry Blankswade.

Blankswade explained that investigators were able to identify 40-year-old Cosbey by tracking the source of the cyberattack back to Danville, and while she was hesitant to speculate on a motive, the detective did say that “I think if it's (their) competitor, it certainly begs the question if that was the motive.”

Cosbey is currently out on $125,000 bail and his next court appearance is set for May 22 in Redwood City. It was not immediately clear whether he is represented by a criminal defense attorney.

The story of Cosbey's arrest on hacking allegations generated headlines across the nation and world after outlets like VICE picked up the San Francisco Chronicle's original article on the Danville man's case last week.

“Choicelunch is aware of the allegations and is awaiting more information before we can make a substantive comment,” Deborah Zandian, Choicelunch director of customer support, told in a statement. “In its fifteen year history serving California schools, Choicelunch has always endeavored to provide excellent service to its school lunch customers and will continue to do so while we await resolution of this matter.”

The Danville Police Department was not involved in the case, however Blankswade stated that standard policy is to alert other agencies when conducting operations within their jurisdictions.

“Anytime we enter somebody else's city we always alert the city. especially for an operation when we are actually arresting somebody or using a search warrant we always let them know,” Blankswade said. “It’s a safety factor for everybody involved, especially if we have detectives in plain clothes.”

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


24 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Walnut Creek
on May 15, 2019 at 6:21 am

If all he did was access there information then what is the harm.
Facebook, Google and any app you download has an agreement these days that gives them permission to own your information.
Not only that, they all use it to track your location. To make it worse the patriot act gave america the right to spy on anyone they wish. Its hard to see this as a crime when it is done daily for so called marketing and protection of the people. If he was a big corporation they would not even bother him, the would probably just want a copy of what information he had. Way to set the example america!

9 people like this
Posted by Alamo Joe
a resident of Alamo
on May 16, 2019 at 3:23 pm

@Resident...surely you're joking. It's no different than someone picking the lock on your front door while you were out and rifling through your house looking at your things. While there, the person found your passwords, your Social Security number, saw pics of your naked spouse, and got to look at all of your financials. Wouldn't you feel violated? Of course you would.

It's the same as breaking and entering, regardless of whether anything was taken. That's why it's wrong. And why he was arrested.

7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Walnut Creek
on May 17, 2019 at 6:19 am

@Joe...That is the whole point Joe! You nailed it!
It is a crime! Yet Facebook, Google the government (to name a few) have already picked your locks via your computer and your own cameras installed in and around your home. Yet everyone seems to find this acceptable. They steal your social security, they steal your passwords, they steal naked pictures of your wife. Not only that, the contracts say they now own that information and own those pictures. I feel violated everyday in this world and its a shame more people do not.

5 people like this
Posted by AlamoMom
a resident of Alamo
on May 17, 2019 at 7:18 pm

Wow! I am absolutely blown away at the number of people who see Mr.Cosbey's actions as okay.

This is the community that we are raising our children in. What horrible examples are being set for them. Nobody gave him permission to hack into another company's computer information. This is not the same as Facebook. We have a choice to use Facebook, or any other Social Media. We are aware of the fact that they harvest our information. We do not need to continue using FB or other sites, but these days, a company can be successful without the use of a computer.

Worse than his act, is the opinion that this is okay, since it is similar to Facebook and Google. In the nearly 20 years that we have lived here, I have observed so much blatant disregard for the law. This includes everything from illegal parking to embezzlement. It is not that hard to follow the law.

Please people. Rethink your values. Live with integrity.

4 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex
a resident of San Ramon
on May 18, 2019 at 4:56 am

Res, I normally agree with you about politics; however, this is not about politics, it’s about the law.

California Penal Code Section 502(c) PC, makes it very clear regarding the crime of hacking. The suspect, according to the brief amount of information listed here, gained unauthorized access into a computer system. The question is why? Was it to: damage, delete, destroy, defraud, or extort a victim?

And BTW... You have the option of not using Facebook and Google. The data that they collect from you is not considered hacking because you gave them permission to access certain features when you created the account.

3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Walnut Creek
on May 20, 2019 at 7:01 am

Hex, say i created a contract that said it was OK for me to take possession of your house, own the title to your car, etc and you signed it giving me permission to do so. That does not mean it is a legal or a binding contract. My point is why do we allow business and/or government to take away our rights daily and yet then, allow them to hold us accountable to laws they break daily. They force us to upgrade, meaning we have to sign the contract or we cannot succeed in this world. If we are going to hold Keith accountable we should as a people hold big business and the ones we supposedly voted on to represent us accountable as well. We are a double standard society and wonder why people miss behave, whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

1 person likes this
Posted by Malcolm Hex
a resident of San Ramon
on May 20, 2019 at 9:51 pm

Yeah, I see your point. But are you talking about the government or private entity?

The suspect gained unauthorized access into someone's computer/server. In order for the government to do that, they would need a warrant.

Facebook's terms of agreement clearly state that anything you post becomes property of Facebook. You have to agree to the terms of agreement to use Facebook.

The essential differences between a contract and an agreement are minor. ... A contract is a legally binding agreement reached between two parties, the terms of which the courts have the authority and obligation to enforce. An agreement is a less formal creation of an obligation between the two parties.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Did Urban Shield make a difference?
By Tim Hunt | 4 comments | 739 views