Feeds

Employee fired for probing bad guys awarded $4.7m

Termination was 'malicious, willful, reckless, wanton'

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

A jury has awarded a former security analyst for Sandia National Laboratories $4.7m after he was fired for conducting his own investigation into computer attacks and taking his findings to authorities of a separate agency.

The judgment was more than twice the amount sought by Shawn Carpenter, who was dismissed by Sandia in January, 2005, according to FCW.com and other news outlets. The jury said the termination was "malicious, willful, reckless, wanton, fraudulent or in bad faith."

Carpenter initiated his investigation after detecting attacks on Sandia's network that originated from China, Romania, Italy and other countries and have come to be known as Titan Rain. After learning that similar attacks had been unleashed on Army bases and US contractors, Carpenter asked his superiors for permission to reverse-engineer the hacks so he could track down the perpetrators. His request was denied.

But Carpenter investigated them anyway, partly at the request of the FBI. When Sandia officials caught wind of the unsanctioned probe, Carpenter was fired.

A spokesman told us Sandia officials are disappointed and are considering whether to appeal. But he declined our request to discuss, even in the most general terms, their policies relating to the investigation of attacks that target their networks.

The episode underscores the morass confronting those trying to secure some of the world's most sensitive networks. Limited resources and bureaucratic rivalries have long been a challenge in reining in organized crime and espionage, and the growing wave of ever more sophisticated computer-generated rackets is making matters worse.

Notwithstanding some high-profile convictions against botnet ringleaders and other cybercrooks, much of the enforcement these days comes from self-appointed take-down groups such as PIRT (Phishing Incident Reporting and Termination), manned by individuals who donate their time and resources to help eliminate online menaces.

Philip Davis, an attorney who represented Carpenter, told PCWorld the verdict was a "vindication of his decision to do the right thing and turn over the information he obtained to the proper federal authorities in the interests of national security". ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.