IT admin used inside knowledge to hack and steal

A former IT administrator has pleaded guilty to charges of hacking his former employer and breaking into other Bay Area companies.

A former San Jose, California, network administrator is facing 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to hacking, ID theft, burglary and drug charges.

According to the Santa Clara District Attorney's office, Andrew Madrid, 34, used his IT experience to pull off a variety of crimes between September 2006 and March 2008.

"This was one of the most sophisticated computer crimes our office has prosecuted," said Ben Field, Santa Clara's deputy district attorney. "There's computer intrusion in the first place, there's the introduction of spyware, there's the theft of proprietary data from a computer network, and sometimes the destruction of proprietary data from a computer network."

One of Madrid's victims was his former employer, a Sunnyvale, California, high-technology company. According to Field, Madrid destroyed data on the company's servers in the hope that "they would ask him to come back and fix the very problem that he created."

The Santa Clara District Attorney's office declined to name any of the victims of Madrid's crimes.

To make his hacking harder to trace, Madrid would often use his neighbor's open wireless networks, Field said.

Posing as a security guard or an IT person, he also breezed through Bay Area companies late at night looking for laptops and other computer equipment to steal, Field said. "He had a good eye for what was valuable," he said.

He sometimes gained access to different parts of the building by picking up security badges he found lying in unoccupied cubes, Field said.

If stopped by company employees, "he would talk to them as if he was completely justified in being there," Field said. "Like he was an IT person doing some work or a security guard making sure the place was secure."

"Being a former network administrator, he could talk the talk as an IT guy," he added.

Madrid even wore clothes that resembled a security guard's uniform, Field said.

In another scheme, Madrid would change bar-code tags on computer equipment in stores in order to pay retailers less than the value of their merchandise. He sometimes manufactured his own price tags, Field said, and a mobile bar-code printer was found in his car. Sometimes the scam was as simple as taking the bar code off a cheap eMachine and putting it on a more expensive Hewlett-Packard computer, Field said.

Madrid pleaded guilty on Friday in Santa Clara superior court. He faces six to 12 years in prison on the various charges. Sentencing is set for Jan. 22.

Tags hackersdisgruntled employees

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

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

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.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?