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Imprisonment for Ex-IT Systems Administrator of Cox Communications

38-year old William Bryant of Norcross was sentenced to 5 months of imprisonment from January to May 2008, to be followed by another 5 months of confinement at home on January 10, 2008. Federal judge Thomas W. Thrash delivered the sentence to the former employee of Cox Communcations, which is in the business of a computer and telecommunications network across the US.

According to a news report published by Northfulton on January 10, 2008, Bryant was charged for hacking into the computer and telecommunications network of Cox.

The punishment includes a fine of $ 15,470, as the hacking was done deliberately and without authorization from Cox. The hacking results in damage to the computer and a transmission of unauthorized information.

Bryant admitted his crime on September 26, 2007 and has been ordered 2 years of supervised release together with spending 200 hours in community service after the confinement. Investigations of the case were carried out by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the prosecution was conducted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence R. Sommerfeld.

Bryant used his knowledge and skills to shut down segments of Cox's network, which led to a loss of computer and communication services. 911 emergency services for Cox clients in Texas, Las Vegas, Baton Rouge and New Orleans were also affected by his crime.

David E. Nahmias, US Attorney, said in a statement reported by Northfulton on January 10, 2008 that hacking, prying into a computer and causing it damage is a grave federal offence, and poses a threat to the country's critical infrastructure. This would be dealt with aggressively, he added.

According to Mark McClain, Founder and CEO, SailPoint Technologies, a risk-management provider, privileged users, like IT professionals, can cause more harm to an organization than outsiders as they are privy to information to enable them to carry out their jobs. The employee has access to keys which he can misuse whenever he wishes to, as per the news reported by SCMagazine on January 11, 2008.

Administrators are therefore advised by security researchers to be alert to weird behavior from employees to thwart such incidents.

Related article: Inappropriate IT Decisions Leads to Security Dangers

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