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This Cyber Crime Landed a Former IT Administrator 2 Years in Jail

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Managing permissions for their network is something that many organizations may only consider when it’s too late to do anything about it. This can provide outsiders with access to sensitive information that shouldn’t be seen by anyone but your employees. To learn a few lessons about user permissions, let’s look at the misfortune of PA Online, a Pennsylvania-based Internet service provider.

A former system administrator for PA Online was issued a prison sentence of two years, alongside a fine of $26,000, for using the company network when he wasn’t supposed to. Dariusz J. Prugar, who had been fired just days before the incident, found that his credentials were still valid. He then proceeded to cause the network to crash, leaving countless residents and Pennsylvania businesses without an Internet connection.

Prugar used these credentials to infiltrate the network and steal back software which he claimed was rightfully his. He continued to plant backdoors across the network, and to keep his antics hidden, Prugar enabled scripts that would delete the network’s access logs.

However, the results of this action were far from the intended purpose. The scripts used by Prugar caused the entire system to crash, which led to the company calling Prugar in to assist with getting the systems back online. He then made the mistake of demanding to renegotiate the rights to “his” software, which was a major red flag for PA Online. The ISP called in the FBI to investigate the occurrence, and… well, you know the rest.

The end result was that PA Online’s customers went a week without an Internet connection, and the company eventually had to shut itself down. The effects of a rogue admin led to the demise of the ISP, and it’s only because this former employee still had his own credentials to access the company network.

There is a clear lesson to be learned here; a user who doesn’t need access to your network shouldn’t be able to do so. Often times, an employee who gets terminated or leaves the company for some reason may do so with their credentials intact, and in the confusion of losing a worker, your IT department may forget to revoke their access to the network. Enforcing this practice will help you avoid a premature failing due to a situation similar to what happened to PA Online.

Tektonic is the ideal solution to these system access problems, as we can monitor your network access in real time for discrepancies, as well as restrict permissions as the need arises. You can know for certain that any users who aren’t currently employed by your business won’t have credentials to access the network. To learn more, reach out to us at (416) 256-9928.

Date: January 6th, 2017, Author: Jorge Rojas

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