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Computer Geeks Continue to Wreak Havoc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
Computer geeks are wreaking so much havoc we may soon have to have prison just for geeks.

The latest: The FBI has busted Jason Cornish, 37, of Smyrna, Ga., with hacking into a New Jersey pharmaceutical company’s computer network and shutting down operations, resulting in losses of at least $300,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

“The computers on which companies do business are the engines of the 21st century economy,” Newark U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said late last week. “Malicious intrusions are against the law, regardless of motive. Hacking attacks devised as personal revenge can have serious repercussions for perpetrators as well as victims.”

“In this instance, Jason Cornish allegedly was able to inflict great damage to Shionogi, Inc., with the stroke of a few computer keys,” added Michael Ward, head of the Newark FBI.

Authorities said Cornish was an information technology employee at Shionogi, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese pharmaceutical company with operations in New Jersey and Georgia.

In late September 2010, shortly after Cornish had resigned from Shionogi, the company announced layoffs that would affect a close friend and former supervisor, authorities said.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 3, Cornish gained unauthorized access to Shionogi’s computer network and took control of a piece of software that he had secretly installed on the server several weeks earlier.

Cornish then used the secretly installed software program to delete the contents of each of 15 “virtual hosts” on Shionogi’s computer network, authorities said.

The 15 virtual hosts housed the equivalent of 88 different computer servers.

The deleted servers housed most of Shionogi’s American computer infrastructure, including the company’s e mail and Blackberry servers, its order tracking system, and its financial management software, authorities said.

The attack effectively froze Shionogi’s operations for a number of days, leaving company employees unable to ship product, cut checks, or communicate by e-mail, authorities said.


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