Fired Texan system administrator destroys company servers


Fired system administrator may face as long as ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine for sabotaging the servers and accounts of his former employer.

In September 2016, 41 year old Joe Vito Venzor was fired from his position of IT engineer in the footwear manufacturer Lucchese Bootmaker based in El Paso, Texas. Venzor became very angry after his meeting with the IT director, so that his former colleagues had to spend an hour to get him out of the building. Once Venzor left the building, his administrator access rights were immediately revoked as precautionary measures. However, Venzor took advantage of his previously hidden account and managed to disconnected the company’s e-mail server and application server. The application server was responsible for orders’ registration and production processes. As a result, the footwear producer stopped working.

Among other things, Venzor deleted important system files and blocked employees from accessing their cloud accounts. The company had to turn to third-party contractors for assistance and restore. The entire restore process and the fulfillment of accumulated orders took a few weeks. The company claims it lost $100,000 in new orders, on top of all the extra IT costs.

Since the incident occurred on the day of the Venzor’s dismissal, investigating experts immediately suspected him and undertook the analysis of his latest activity. As it was revealed during the investigation, the former system administrator collected the credentials of his colleagues and stored them in a separate file. Using the corporate e-mail Venzor has e-mailed this document to his personal account. The order of the logins and passwords in this file coincided exactly with the order of blocking the employee’s accounts.

Venzor used a hidden account which was disguised as a laser printer, but had full admin privileges. According to the logs, Venzor used to sign into this account from his password protected work computer before.

The suspect was arrested on October 7 by the FBI and agreed to plead guilty on March 30. The judge will pass sentence to him in June.


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