Feeds

IT contractor charged over US oil rig hack

Roughneck cracker charges

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

An IT contractor has been charged with sabotaging offshore oil rig computer systems.

Mario Azar, 28, of Upland, California, allegedly damaged a drilling firm's computers out of spite after it declined to offer him permanent employment. Azar faces an indictment for unauthorised impairment of a protected computer, an offence punishable by a maximum sentence of up to ten years' imprisonment.

Until May 2008, Azar worked as an IT consultant with the Long Beach-based Pacific Energy Resources. He helped set up a computer system used to communicate between PER's offices and its oil platforms, carrying out functions such as remote telemetry and "leak detection".

Shortly after leaving the job, Azar allegedly hacked into the system and "caused damage by impairing the integrity and availability of data," according to the indictment returned by a Los Angeles grand jury on Wednesday. The assault caused thousands of dollars of damages, prosecutors charge.

Fortunately, although PER briefly lost control of its telemetry systems, the outage did not result in any oil leaks or environmental harm. The case was investigated by the FBI and the Long Beach Police Department who uncovered unspecified evidence that led to Azar's arrest.

Azar faces a court date over the hacking charge in a US District Court in Los Angeles on 6 April. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.