60 year-old IT manager jailed for hacking ex-employer & destorying the network, causing $800K in damage

When we hear the term “cyberattack,” chances are that the image of a sophisticated group of criminals operating from some secret base under the auspices of governments or private companies will come to mind, although sometimes hackers are where we would least expect it. According to cybersecurity specialists, a man has been sentenced to prison after prosecutors in charge of his case filed hacking charges against his former employer’s networks, leaving the company under attack with a loss of nearly $1 million USD.

Federal prosecutors claim that 60-year-old defendant Charles E. Taylor deliberately sabotaged the computer network of the company where he worked, as he was unhappy with his former boss. A federal judge sentenced the man to a year and a half in prison, plus three years of parole.

Originally from Jacksonville, Arkansas, Taylor was hired as a systems administrator for a wholesaler of wood and building materials in 2013, declared federal prosecutor BJay Pak. In 2018, the company was acquired by a larger Atlanta-based firm.

While the defendant retained his job after the merger of the companies, he began to feel some dissatisfaction with the results of the business and resigned, the prosecutor adds. “A month after his resignation, the defendant began a multi-stage cyberattack campaign, targeting the servers in his former job.

Prosecutors mention that Taylor connected to the company’s network remotely thanks to some information he took with him when he resigned. “The accused was cunning; He encrypted their network connections to hide them, and their actions left hundreds of employees without the ability to access their equipment,” says Prosecutor Park.

“A few days later, Taylor activated a command that shut down the company’s central server. This incident stopped communications unexpectedly,” the prosecutor added.

As the company worked to restore its network over a two-day period, employees at several of its branches were forced to take customer orders by hand and fulfill incoming orders using their personal cell phones. The incident response process cost more than $700,000 for the company.

Although no details were added about Taylor’s investigation and subsequent detention, the defendant was convicted after pleading guilty to a charge of computer fraud. As part of his sentence, Taylor must pay more than $800,000 in return to the affected company.