Electrical supe charged with damaging California canal system
Facing 10 years
A former employee for a federally-owned canal system in California was charged with installing software that damaged a computer used to divert water out of a local river.
Michael Keehn, of Willows, California, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Federal court documents claim the former electrical supervisor with the Tehama Colusa Canal Authority "intentionally caused damage without authorization to a protected computer."
The TCCA operates two canals that move water out of the Sacramento River for using in irrigation and agriculture in Northern California. As part of its duties, the TCCA uses a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system to regulate the system.
Attempts to reach Keehn for comment were not successful. A report found here quoted Keehn as saying "I'm sure I did something to cause it" but that he wasn't entirely sure. Keehn worked for the TCCA for more than 17 years before being fired on August 15, the date he is alleged to have installed the unauthorized software.
The security of SCADA systems has emerged as a sensitive issue in the post 9-11 world. In 2000, a disgruntled former employee for a water system in Australia used a SCADA system to spill raw sewage into waterways, hotel grounds and canals in the area, according to this article from ComputerWorld. ®
"He'd had a few beers he says"
“I’m certain I did something to cause it,” Mr. Keehn says, but he’s not entirely sure.
He’d had a few beers he says.
Well then, tough shit. You don't fuck with critical infrastructure after you've "had a few beers". In fact, during the working day, if you're a systems engineer, you just don't, ever, have a few beers.
I can't help noticing that as well as this, the linked article describes him as "computer genius and conservative thinker", I may be adding two and two and coming up with the wrong answer, but frankly I'm reading all this as "Arrogant, drunken, bigoted jesus freak sacked for working on systems while tanked."
In which case good riddance.
YMMV, perhaps there's some definition of "conservative thinker" that I'm not aware of.
Re:"Last I knew, AVATAR was a way of controlling a text terminal (positioning, colors, etc), much like ANSI."
This is a new definition for me, but googling the word brings up a range of similar acronyms. I used the word in the sense that it originally had: an incarnation of the divine Paris Hilton, goddess of superficiality who has attained multi-talented mastery in the Supracosmic Sphere.
AVATAR? Last I knew, AVATAR was a way of controlling a text terminal (positioning, colors, etc), much like ANSI. But that was a long time ago in a galaxy far away. What those guys could do with ANSI art was truly amazing.