Systems manager arrested for hacking former employer's network

He allegedly caused over US$90,000 in damages, the FBI said

By Loek Essers, IDG News Service |  Security

A 41-year-old man was arrested for allegedly disrupting his former employer's network after he was passed over for promotions, leading him to quit his job and take revenge, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

Michael Meneses, a systems manager from Smithtown, Long Island, who worked for a company that manufactures high-voltage power supplies, allegedly caused the company over US$90,000 in damages, the FBI New York Field Office said Thursday.

Meneses was employed at the company until January 2012, where he specialized in developing and customizing software used by the company to run its business operations, according to the FBI. He was one of two employees responsible for ensuring that the software ran smoothly in order to keep production planning, purchasing and inventory control operating efficiently, it said. This role gave Meneses high-level access to the company's network, the FBI added.

After being passed over for promotions he allegedly expressed his displeasure and resigned in December 2011, the FBI said. After his network access was terminated, Meneses allegedly found a way to launch a three-week campaign to cause damage to his former employer after getting unauthorized access to the network, the FBI added.

He allegedly hacked into the company's network, stole former co-workers security credentials, including by writing a program to capture log-in names and passwords, according to the FBI. The information was then used to remotely access the company's network using a virtual private network to corrupt the company's network from Meneses' home and from a hotel close to his new employer, the FBI said.

"Meneses' efforts ranged from using a former colleague's e-mail account to discourage new applicants from taking Meneses' position, to sending commands to alter the business calendar by one month, disrupting the company's production and finance operations," the FBI said.

As the complaint alleges, the defendant "engaged in a 21st Century campaign of cyber-vandalism and high-tech revenge," Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, stated in the release.

Meneses appeared in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York in Central Islip, Long Island on Thursday where he officially denied the allegations and was released on a $50,000 bond, according to a New York Times report. The affected company was referred to in the report as Spellman High Voltage Electronics Corporation.

If Meneses is convicted he faces a statutory maximum sentence of "years' imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and restitution," the FBI said.

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