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Fired IT director admits $94k rampage on organ bank

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A former technology director who was fired from a regional organ donation center in Texas has admitted to breaking into her former employer's network and destroying more than $94,000 worth of data.

Danielle Duann, 51, of Houston admitted that in November 2005 she illegally accessed the network of LifeGift just hours after bosses told her she was terminated. From the evening of November 7 through the following morning, she used a Dell laptop and her home broadband account to delete organ donation information and account invoices. The rogue employee also nuked server logs in an attempt to cover her tracks.

The rampage is a potent reminder of the havoc disgruntled IT workers can wreak when employers don't take the proper precautions. According to court documents, LifeGift managers didn't disable Duann's virtual private network account and didn't change the login credentials of other employees, either. The failure made it possible for Duann to use her VPN account to reach the LifeGift network, and then use an administrator account belonging to another employee.

The damage could have been much worse were it not for the employee of an outside company called CompuCom who was in the process of providing backup and disaster recovery services. The employee just happened to be on-site at LifeGift on the morning that Duann carried out her revenge.

"The CompuCom employee, who observed Duann in real time deleting files from the LifeGift computer servers, realized the defendant was accessing the LifeGift computer network via the 'dduann' VPN account," court documents state. "At approximately 10:45 am on November 8, 2005, the CompuCom employee terminated Duann's VPN connection, thereby preserving the VPN connection logs which showed that Duann had accessed the LifeGift computer network via her home internet connection."

Located in Houston, LifeGift is the sole provider of organ procurement services for 200 hospitals in Texas.

Duann pleaded guilty to one felony count of computer intrusion in connection with the crime. She has agreed to pay $94,200 in restitution. She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 28. ®

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