IT worker let spammers into ex-employer's servers

A man has been sentenced to a year in prison for turning his former employer's e-mail servers into open relay systems for spammers.

An IT manager who logged onto to his former employer's computer network five months after being fired and opened the e-mail server up to spammers has been sentenced to one year in prison.

Steven Barnes had earlier pleaded guilty to computer intrusion charges, saying in a plea agreement that he accessed servers at a San Mateo, California, Internet media company called Akimbo Systems and turned the company's mail system into an open mail server that spammers could use to send out messages. He also deleted the company's Microsoft Exchange e-mail database and files that the computer needed in order to boot up.

In a letter to the presiding judge, Barnes said that he had battled drug and alcohol addictions at the time, and was upset after Akimbo representatives showed up at his door in April 2003 -- one carrying a baseball bat -- and taken both his work and personal computers.

He logged onto company servers on Sept. 30 after trying an old password that had been valid before he was fired. "To my complete disbelief, I soon realized... they had no firewall and the passwords were not even changed," he said.

Employees at Akimbo, which operated under the name Blue Falcon Networks at the time, were unable to send or receive email or look up old messages for days, and the company was also blacklisted by an anti-spam organization, federal prosecutors said in court filings.

On Thursday a federal judge in California ordered Barnes to serve a year and a day in prison and pay US$54,000 in restitution to Akimbo Systems. After his release, Barnes will serve three years probation.

He is scheduled to report to prison on January 8.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags spamcrime

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?