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A former contractor allegedly knocked out government systems and deleted thousands of records in Australia's Northern Territories earlier this month.

David Anthony McIntosh, 27, allegedly took out IT systems at the Northern Territories' Health Department, Royal Darwin Hospital, Berrimah Prison and Supreme Court on 5 May, Darwin Magistrates Court heard on Thursday. Prosecutor Sergeant Erica Sims told the court that McIntosh deleted the user accounts of 10,475 government workers after breaking into database systems from his home in Palmerston, a town outside the provincial capital of Darwin, the Northern Territory News reports.

The attack will cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars" and require months of work to fix, according to prosecutors. Police allegedly found copies of Northern Territory government passwords on his laptop after they traced the attack back to McIntosh. Government workers in the Northern Territory have reportedly been urged to change their passwords. An unspecified number of admin workers had to be "stood down", Sergeant Sims told magistrates.

Chief Magistrate Jenny Blokland denied McIntosh bail after hearing prosecution arguments that he might either abscond or commit further computer hacking offences if released. McIntosh moved to the Northern Territories from Sydney in February to work as an IT security consultant on government systems.

He resigned in April prior to allegedly using a colleague's credentials to hop onto a government virtual private network connection and wreak havoc. McIntosh faces computer hacking offences punishable by up to ten years' inprisonment (if convicted) at a trial, provisionally scheduled to commence in October. ®

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