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11/3/2010
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Former IT Director Imprisoned For Hacking Employer's Servers

Darnell Albert-El gets 27-month sentence for deleting files at Transmarx as revenge for being terminated.

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A former IT director in Virginia is due to serve time for deleting files at his former employer, after an investigation conducted by the FBI.

According to the Department of Justice, Darnell H. Albert-El, 53, of Richmond, Va., earlier this year "pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally damaging a protected computer without authorization." On Friday, he was sentenced to 27 months in jail and ordered to pay $6,700 in restitution to his former employer, Transmarx, which sells telecommunications equipment and supplies.

Transmarx fired Albert-El, who had access to the company's website, in June 2008. According to court documents, "Albert-El admitted that on July 25, 2008, he used a personal computer and an administrator account and password to access the computer hosting the Transmarx website."

According to the court documents, "after accessing the computer, Albert-El knowingly caused the transmission of a series of commands that intentionally caused damage without authorization to the computer by deleting approximately 1,000 files related to the Transmarx website. In pleading guilty, Albert-El admitted that he caused the damage because he was "angry about being fired."

The case is the latest in a recent string of attacks involving malicious or misguided insiders. Last month, for example, the FBI charged a former Akamai insider with offering to supply company secrets to an unnamed foreign government.

Also last month, a federal jury found a contract Unix engineer for Fannie Mae guilty of having planted a malicious script designed to delete everything on the mortgage-purchasing association's networks.

While external attackers may get the limelight, malicious insiders remain a potent threat. Indeed, according to the 2010 CyberSecurity Watch Survey, 67% of organizations surveyed said that insider breaches resulted in greater financial losses than attacks by outsiders.

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