Feeds

(Former) IT consultant confesses to SCADA tampering

'Multiple user accounts'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A former IT consultant for a California oil and gas company has admitted he intentionally tampered with its computer systems after he was turned down for a permanent position there.

Mario Azar of Upland, California pleaded guilty to one felony count of intentionally damaging a computer system used in interstate and foreign commerce, according to documents filed in federal court in Los Angeles. He was an IT consultant for Long Beach, California-based Pacific Energy Resources until around May 8, 2008, when he received his final paycheck.

Beginning on that date, Azar "knowingly caused the transmission of programs," codes, and commands that impaired the computer systems of the company, prosecutors said. Parts of those systems were used to remotely operate giant oil platforms from the company's offices. The systems were also used to detect gas leaks.

Such SCADA, or supervisory control and data acquisition, systems are frequently used to control sensitive equipment at dams, gasoline refineries and other large industrial sites. Security watchers have warned that they are vulnerable to disgruntled insiders or malicious hackers who figure out ways to exploit computer weaknesses.

Azar had set up parts of the Pacific Energy Resources computer system and had established multiple user accounts on it, according to court documents. They didn't make clear whether company administrators had deleted the accounts after the consultant left the company.

Sentencing in the case is scheduled for December 7. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.