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Disgruntled IT Manager Sentenced For Hacking Former Employer

Former IT chief gets a year for deleting company's Microsoft Exchange database
A California man this week was sentenced to a year and a day in prison -- plus three months of home detention -- for hacking a former employer's email system and deleting its Microsoft Exchange server database and core boot files.

According to a news report, Steven John Barnes, who had been fired from his job as IT manager of Blue Falcon Networks in San Mateo, Calif., admitted in a plea deal that he hacked into the system and programmed the email server to send out spam messages that included pornography and viruses that were blocked by recipients' detection systems, prosecutors said. Blue Falcon complained that the exploit caused the company to lose productivity and prevented employees from communicating by email internally and with customers.

Barnes, 37, was employed by the company from September 2002 to April 2003, according to the report. He was indicted by a civil grand jury on May 15, 2007, and charged with gaining access to the company's protected computer system from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 2003.

In a sentencing memorandum, Shawna Yen, the federal prosecutor, urged the court to send a message to other would-be hackers letting them know that such crimes are taken seriously by the courts.