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IT admin charged in Xmas Eve rampage on charity

Disunited Way

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The former sysadmin for a Florida-based charity stands accused of ransacking the organization's servers and phone systems last Christmas eve, more than a year after his employment there ended.

Luis Robert Altamarino, who had been given administrator access to the computer network of United Way Miami-Dade, breached the systems on December 24, according to an indictment filed in US District Court in Miami earlier this week. He had worked at the charity for five months starting in July 2007 setting up PCs and providing technical support for his fellow employees.

Between December 24 and the following day, Altamarino ransacked the charity's servers, wiping out donor lists, email, and the system that managed employee Blackberry accounts, according to prosecutors. The rogue employee also tampered with the analog phone system server so that voicemail was completely disabled.

The rampage made it impossible for employees to check email, log in to the network, or use the phone system, the indictment says. Restoring the United Way chapter's systems to normal took "several days" and cost at least $5,000, the threshold amount typically required for prosecutors to bring charges under federal computer intrusion statutes.

Altamarino's status remains unclear. Representatives from the US Attorney's office in Miami didn't return phone calls and attempts to reach the former admin were not successful. ®

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