IT admin gets seven years in prison for nuking company servers
Corporate sabotage might not be the best way to get your employer's attentionBy Cal Jeffrey 10 comments
Facepalm: It's not uncommon for people unhappy with their job to do stupid things to show their dissatisfaction. However, it might be a good idea to at least curb the behavior to acts that are not going to land them in jail. A Chinese IT worker learned this lesson the hard way after being sentenced to hard prison time for "sabotaging" his employer's servers.
A disgruntled IT administrator for a real estate firm was sentenced to seven years in prison for wiping his employer's financial servers. The 40-year-old worker attempted to make the data unrecoverable, prompting the harsh penalty. However, the company was able to rebuild the databases and reenter the lost data at a significant expense.
Chinese news outlet Bejing Roar notes that database administrator Han Bing had warned management at his employer, Lianjia, several times about holes in its database security. Bing allegedly wanted to teach them a lesson, so he erased four servers housing the company's financial information.
The real estate brokerage firm immediately launched an investigation. It quickly narrowed its list of suspects to five people with administrative privileges to the servers, including Bing. Four employees fully cooperated with management and handed over their laptops and passwords. However, Bing refused to give up his username and password, claiming his laptop contained private information.
He agreed to allow investigators to access his laptop in his presence, but they did not find evidence that Bing had done the tampering. However, they determined that he could have erased trace evidence from the laptop. So they began combing through server logs and analyzing surveillance footage.
Investigators found Bing's laptop hostname, MAC addresses, and IP addresses in the server records at the time of the erasures. They confirmed his access with timestamped CCTV footage. None of the other four admins had accessed the servers around those times. They determined that Bing had used the "shred" and "rm" commands to delete and make the data unrecoverable.
After a rejected appeal, the courts found Bing guilty of sabotaging computer information systems and sentenced him to seven years in prison. He must also cough up $30,000 (about 200,000 yuan) in restitution.
Image credit: Hafizi