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Attacks/Breaches

Broken Engagement Leads IT Worker To Damage Australian Government Data

Admin uses ex-fiancee's user ID to delete more than 10,000 government records in Australia's Northern Territory

A man who crashed government computer systems in Australia's Northern Territory last year says he did it because he was drunk and upset that his fiancee had broken off their engagement.

According to news reports, David Anthony McIntosh had been living with an IT workmate in May 2008, and the two had planned to be married, McIntosh said in a letter to a Northern Territory court last week. But when his fiancee broke off the engagement, McIntosh got angry.

McIntosh hacked into government servers using his ex-fiancee's password and deleted 10,475 user accounts from the Health Department, hospital, prison, and Supreme Court servers. It took five days, 130 experts, and more than $1.25 million Australian to find the problem and fix it.

"I'm disgusted with myself for what I did," McIntosh said in the letter to the court. "I did not for a second think I would end up in jail." McIntosh also said he was trying to prove there were "security vulnerabilities" in the system.

McIntosh, who has been in jail since May, is a nine-year IT veteran, but now says he plans to retrain as a chef -- the career he left for IT -- when he is released from prison.

He will be sentenced later this week.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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