Fired IT manager sentenced for sabotage

November 3, 2008 2:06:24 PM PST
A former information technology manager for a San Mateo software company has been sentenced in federal court in San Francisco to a year and a day in prison for sabotaging the company's computer system after being fired.

Steven Barnes, 37, of Mill Valley, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White on Thursday. The judge also ordered him to pay $54,000 in restitution to the company, Blue Falcon Networks Inc.

Barnes was the information technology manager for Blue Falcon, a media streaming company later known as Akimbo Systems Inc., from September 2002 until he was fired in April 2003.

He pleaded guilty before White in March to one count of obtaining unauthorized access into a protected computer and recklessly causing damage.

Barnes admitted in his plea agreement that he hacked into the company's computer system on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2003, and sabotaged the system in several different ways.

The damage included causing the company's servers to send out spam messages and become blacklisted as spam distributors; deleting the company's e-mail database and deleting the core files that enabled the servers to boot up.

Barnes said in a presentencing letter to the judge that he was fired after company executives became aware of problems he was having with drug and alcohol abuse. He said he has now been through a residential treatment program.

Prosecutors contended in a sentencing brief to the judge that the methodical nature of the sabotage reflected "a long-held grudge" against the company.


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