ROME (Reuters) – A manager and a former employee of Leonardo were arrested on Saturday for their alleged role in hacking the Italian defence group’s computers to steal sensitive information between 2015 and 2017, prosecutors in the southern city of Naples said.

The arrests are a blow for Leonardo, which along with its aerospace activities also has a large cybersecurity division that counts NATO among its customers.

The company was not immediately available for comment.

Naples prosecutors said in a statement that an ex-employee in Leonardo’s cyber-security department was suspected of having used malware to infect 94 computers to extract “classified information of significant value to the company”.

The information was stolen for “illicit goals which are still being investigated,” the statement said.

The head of Leonardo’s Cyber Emergency Readiness Team – set up to defend the group from hacking attacks – was put under house arrest for allegedly meddling with evidence to throw the prosecutors’ investigations off track.

Police detained the former employee suspected of being directly responsible for the hacking.

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