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Rogue Aus sysadmin jailed over hacking spree

Drunken revenge backfires

A disgruntled contractor who hacked into government systems and deleted thousands of records in Australia's Northern Territories has been jailed for three years and four months.

David Anthony McIntosh, 28, locked users out of IT systems at the Northern Territories' Health Department, Royal Darwin Hospital, Berrimah Prison and Supreme Court last May, a month after resigning his job. The former CSG employee deleted the records of more than 10,000 public servants from government systems, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage in the process.

The computer system disruption cost the NT Government an estimated A$1.25m ($825K) in productivity losses, and tied up 130 experts in resolving the mess.

McIntosh hacked into the database system using the stolen login credentials of a former colleague, who he was living with at time of the attack. The contractor carried out the attack while reportedly drunk and depressed, following the breaking-off of his engagement.

He pleaded guilty to 12 counts of hacking in the NT Supreme Court in January, prior to a sentencing hearing on Wednesday. In sentencing, Justice Stephen Southwood told McIntosh he "didn't cause significant permanent harm (but) nonetheless it was malicious".

The hacker has been on remand since his arrest, and will be eligible for parole in two months. He plans to quit his career in IT following his release and retrain as a chef, The Northern Territories News reports. ®

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