Microsoft hacker fired

Dimitri sacked after court case

The hacker who made Microsoft look foolish in November by breaking into its servers through a known security hole has been fired by his company Getronics.

He was fired yesterday after a court case. Getronics terminated Dimitri Van de Glessen's one-year contract but there is no Netherlands law that allows a company to fire members of staff for hacking in their private time, so both parties went to court to resolve the issue.

Dimitri told us that he was technically fired for his failure to attend an event in Amsterdam. The event came soon after Dimitri had entered the media spotlight. He told us: "I did not want to go to Schipol [the event was held in a conference centre at Schipol airport] because I had just become known by the press and did not want people following me and arriving at my hotel."

His reluctance was understandable, but that hasn't stopped Getronics - a Microsoft partner - firing him. The irony is that the computer security company had hired Dimitri in the first place for his hacking skills. In court, the company denied knowledge of Dimitri extra-curricular hacking or his own company, although Dimitri strongly refutes this.

Dimitri also claims he was fired not because of his hacking but because he went first to Microsoft, then the press, rather than to his company. This meant the company was unable to use the hack to tender for a security contract on the Beast of Redmond's servers: "They wanted to tell Microsoft so they could say they had a hacker in there. But I was not going to take money. That's not right."

Getronics spokesman Herbert Vanzel had a different take on matters: "When we hired Dimitri we knew he was a hacker and we wanted his professional view on IT systems. As a private person he hacked other companies, which gave us problems with those companies. We spoke to Dimitri so this wouldn't happen again."

Dimitri, Herbert said, would not give an assurance that he wouldn't hack Getronics partners, so his one-year contract was terminated. "We can't allow people like this to work for us," he said.

Dimitri was keen to explain his behaviour after he had hacked into Microsoft: "I told Microsoft, but they wouldn't listen, so I told the press and then everyone was suddenly interested."

The court decided that Dimitri was to get a three-month pay-off (reportedly 10,000 gilders (£2850)). He has yet to decide what to do. "I've been at home for six weeks and I'll stay here a bit longer. I don't know if I want to stay in security - no one wants to listen." ®

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