Fired worker admits damaging former employer's software

1st FBI hacker case here ends in a guilty plea

November 06, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A 42-year-old Columbia man who helped create the computer network used by a Canton high-tech firm admitted in federal court yesterday to damaging the network a few months after he was fired.

Scott W. Rogers, a former software engineer for SkyNetWEB, pleaded guilty before Senior Judge Herbert N. Maletz, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, to intentionally damaging the software used by the Web-hosting firm.

Rogers, who was fired from SkyNetWEB in February, admitted he infiltrated the company's network twice in May without authorization and shut down access to at least one of its customers, according to a plea agreement submitted to Maletz yesterday by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Welsh.

According to an FBI affidavit filed in support of the plea, Rogers used a former supervisor's computer password and shut down access to Emagination Network LLC for much of May 29.

When initially confronted about the network problems through an e-mail from a former supervisor, Rogers said that his own computer had been compromised by an intruder, the affidavit said. But in a subsequent meeting, attended by undercover FBI agents, Rogers admitted that he had caused the service disruptions.

Federal investigators say computer sabotage has expanded beyond teen-age hackers.

The case against Rogers, who was arraigned July 26, marked the first time that the FBI Baltimore field office's fledgling computer crime squad had pursued a case of unauthorized access to computer networks.

Rogers, who later went to work for America Online, caused an estimated $67,400 in damage to the computers owned by SkyNetWEB and its parent, Affinity Internet Inc., Welsh said.

He said that when Rogers appears for sentencing Jan. 14, the defendant may argue that the damages were considerably less. Rogers faces a maximum sentence of five years and a fine of $250,000.

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