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News

IT Administrator Deletes VMWare Hosts Of Former Employee

CyberArk Software : 18 August, 2011  (Technical Article)
Cyber-Ark comments on the ease with which former employee uses wi-fi and retained privileged access to cause IT chaos at Japanese Pharmaceutical company
IT Administrator Deletes VMWare Hosts Of Former Employee
Jason Cornish, an IT administrator from Georgia, has pleaded guilty to accessing the network of his former employer, a US subsidiary of Japanese pharmaceutical company, Shionogi, using an old account.  Gaining access via public Wi-Fi at a McDonald’s restaurant, Cornish deleted 15 VMWare hosts, used to run the equivalent of 88 servers that supported business critical services, including company BlackBerrys, email and order tracking, causing an estimated $300,000 worth of damage.

If convicted Cornish could face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Mark Fullbrook, Director, UK and Ireland at Privileged Identity Management expert Cyber-Ark, has said the following:

“This latest case of an IT administrator gone bad highlights all too plainly the dangers that can ensue from unmanaged privileged access.  We’ve seen the San Francisco city network come crashing to a halt through Terry Childs and Sam Chihlung Yin threaten Gucci’s global brand in similar incidents, all at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  When will lessons be learnt?

“Whilst the punishment that Jason Cornish looks set to face sends a powerful message to the rest of the world on the repercussions of such actions, it’s time that organisations start to take a proactive approach to security. With research** finding that over a quarter of organisations today still fail to monitor privileged accounts and two-thirds of IT staff admitting that they’d steal confidential information from an employer, it’s clear that more needs to be done to prevent systems being left wide open to attack.

“Ultimately, organisations looking to avoid a similar fate need to ensure that networks are fully locked down and privileged access to systems is managed, controlled and recorded.  This is the only way to prevent such incidents occurring in the future.” 
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