Network Engineer Jailed for Attack on Former Employer

Ricky Joe Mitchell, 35, of Charleston, W.Va., was recently sentenced to four years in federal prison for intentionally damaging the computer system of his former employer, the oil and gas company EnerVest (h/t Computerworld).

Mitchell admitted that in June 2012, after learning he was going to be fired from his position as a network engineer with the company, he reset all network servers to factory settings, rendering EnerVest’s data and applications inaccessible for its eastern U.S. operations.

He also disconnected critical pieces of network equipment, and disabled the equipment’s cooling system.

As a result of Mitchell’s actions, EnerVest claims it was unable to fully communicate or conduct business operations for 30 days, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to recover historical data from its network servers.

“Imagine having your company’s computer network knocked out for a month,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a statement. “In this day and age, that kind of attack is devastating. And this defendant didn’t just hurt EnerVest. He hurt his former co-workers, he hurt EnerVest’s customers, and, ultimately, he hurt consumers.”

In addition to his prison sentence, Mitchell was ordered to pay $428,000 in restitution to EnerVest, plus a $100,000 fine.

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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