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Twenty-Four Seven Security

Peter Schooff

Hacker -- A Holiday Tale

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These last couple of months, in the cat and mouse game of computer security, I have to admit some days it really feels like the rodents are winning. Or, to paraphrase a certain holiday tale, Not a creature was stirring, but the mice were running wild.

And as the holidays approach, I just wanted to relay a quick tale where a bad guy gets what he deserves. The worst thing about the story that follows is the fellow was once one of us, but is now an IT professional gone bad.

According to eWeek, it seems one Roger Duronio, an employee of PaineWebber, was constantly complaining about his pay and bonuses with the company. And instead of simply quitting and seeking better pay elsewhere, Duronio hatched a plan to infect 1,000 of PaineWebber's 1,500 networked computers in various branch offices with a "logic bomb."

So Duronio quit his systems administrator job with PaineWebber in February 2002. On March 4, 2002, the bomb detonated and started deleting files. Duronio bet that, when the news of the attack hit, PaineWebber's stock would plummet. Only problem, PaineWebber's stock stayed exactly the same, and the bet that Duronio made by selling the stock short actually ended up costing him $23,000 dollars.

And, as you can clearly tell in my telling this tale, Duronio was busted. A New Jersey judge ordered him to pay $3.1 million in restitution and sentenced him to 97 months in prison.

Thus ends the holiday tale. So remember, keep current with your updates and patches, and please, only use your IT powers for good.

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Peter Schooff's blog is a daily look at what's going on in the world of computer security with an emphasis on how it affects businesses.

Peter Schooff

Peter Schooff is Contributing Editor at ebizQ, and manager of the ebizQ Forum. Contact him at pschooff@techtarget.com

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