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Fired IT Worker Replaces CEO's Presentation With Porn 316

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-meeting-ever dept.
An anonymous reader writes "52-year-old Walter Powell wanted revenge when he was fired from his position as an IT manager at Baltimore Substance Abuse System Inc. So, he hacked into their systems — installing keyloggers to steal passwords. Then, when his CEO was giving a presentation to the board of directors he replaced the slides with pornographic images. Powell has now been given a 2 year suspended sentence, and 100 hours community service."
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Fired IT Worker Replaces CEO's Presentation With Porn

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  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @04:42PM (#36535282)
    He should have substituted his presentation to a community group, city hall or some other public presentation. Showing porn to the board of directors is 2nd only to showing them increasing profits.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @04:44PM (#36535306)

    I wonder what the sentence would have be if he replaced the slides with puppies or butterflies instead of porn? Less perhaps?

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <muitnias>> on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @04:44PM (#36535312)

    When you walk away from a job there is nothing more satisfying than letting it fall to shit after you go. Doing something on the way out or after you leave just proves you didn't have any positive effect on the business.

  • idiocracy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @04:50PM (#36535402)
    why are six of the last 7 stories tagged with 'idiocracy'?
  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @04:56PM (#36535470) Journal

    Dude - 100 hours community service?

    *Totally* worth it. >:)

    (okay, probably not. I'm pretty sure he got promptly black-balled and will likely have to move.)

    As for Childs? The diff is that Powell pissed in the corn flakes of a small private company CEO.

    Childs' big mistake (well, the biggest one among many) was that he pissed in the corn flakes of bureaucrats whose sense of petty revenge apparently knows no bounds.

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @04:57PM (#36535486)

    I'm glad he's not actually in jail, otherwise I would have to start a FREE WALTER POWELL movement.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Score Whore (32328) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:13PM (#36535656)

    Dude - 100 hours community service?

    *Totally* worth it. >:)

    (okay, probably not. I'm pretty sure he got promptly black-balled and will likely have to move.)

    Move? He'd be lucky if that's all that happens. He's unlikely to ever get a job of any significance again. Would you want this guy working for you?

  • by Bruce66423 (1678196) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:21PM (#36535748)
    Of course there is an argument that if he was sufficiently ignorant to get himself caught, then he deserved to get sacked in the first place....
  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:30PM (#36535816) Homepage

    Would you want this guy working for you?

    I dunno. He was an IT manager capable of installing software and changing a presentation; that's more IT knowledge than most IT managers have.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:32PM (#36535834) Homepage Journal

    Thats' not good revenge.
    Good revenge is when they call you and you say 'I'll help 200 an hour, 20 hour min.'
    Showing up to work making 3 times more is the best revenge.

  • Re:fail (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mr1911 (1942298) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:38PM (#36535876)

    Next time slightly alter the presentation to make it look incompetent

    For most PowerPoint presentations, that is accomplished without making any edit to the original.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:41PM (#36535914)

    Ransom, huh? How much did he ask for? In fact, in what way would Childs have materially benefited from his actions? Answer: in no way could he have benefited, so stop making shit up, asshole.

  • by epyT-R (613989) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:50PM (#36536002)

    what if he was fired wrongfully? today's situation prevents any sort of justice from happening. if he was canned for politics then I have no sympathy for his employer whatsoever.

  • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:58PM (#36536090) Journal

    It's not an IT thing. Everyone does this.

    Well, no, not everybody.

    I've been wrongfully fired before, being made the bearer-of-blame for a manager who made the wrong decisions and hoped that the blame would walk out the door with me. I was (and actually still am, gotta love knowledge of trade secrets and dirty secrets and of contacts made with said company's partners) in a position to hurt the company badly in retaliation. But I didn't do so. Why, oh why, in this era of tech workers who exhibit such open contempt of non-techies and thinking the sun shines out their asses?

    1. I'm a better person than the manager in question. I have ethics, and stooping to low revenge is a breach in ethics.
    2. Karma works. The company in question has run into troubles due to said bad decisions.
    3. Karma works, redux. There are plenty of people who know point 1, and will stand by me in references and "unofficial" contacts. If I compromised myself, they wouldn't and shouldn't.
    4. In this valley, everybody knows everybody (or knows someone who does... helllllllo, LinkedIn). Bad firings are known for what they are, regardless of court. So are acts of revenge, regardless of court. I landed on my feet, am in a much better situation than I would be today if I were at the old company, and will continue to do well.

    None of the above makes me in any way unique. Most people are big enough to behave that way, or to semi-quote Chris Rock, "You say you take care of your kids? Of COURSE you're supposed to take care of your kids, dumbass!" It's the expected default behavior. It's the ones who don't who make the news... and Slashdot.

    Now, perhaps you meant "it happens in every industry", but this IS Slashdot. Tech is (ostensibly) what it's about here.

    To be fair, we don't know WHY the person was fired (though we do know his personality allows for revenge). I'm not going to automatically side with him just because he's a fellow tech "worker bee". I know plenty of "worker bee" IT folks who I wouldn't hire to water my lawn, much less care for my datacenter. I also know a couple of CEOs I'd trust with my bank account numbers. Assumption of righteousness and evil based upon job title... that's just wrong.

    All that being said, I'd probably buy the gentleman in question a beer, but I'd never hire him or put him in a position of trust. The ability of people to justify breaches of trust is well-night infinite, and someone who will engage in acts of revenge can be counted upon to do it again, whether they deserved to be fired or not. This is a Pyrhhic victory at best, and while amusing to us, is career-suicide for him.

    Hope it was worth it. Hope his family (if any) thinks so too.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @06:07PM (#36536186)

    For no jail time, I think it was almost worth it. Too bad Terry Childs didn't get the same deal.

    Strike 1:

    This guy is 52 years old.

    Strike 2:

    He pled guilty to a felony charge directly related to IT - and one guaranteed to make him all but unemployable even as a greeter at Walmart.

    Strike 3.

    His probation forbids posession of software "enabing remote access and monitoring of other computers." He can't work out of his home.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:1, Insightful)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @06:12PM (#36536236) Homepage

    No, it's retarded.

    He got an insignificant revenge. So the board got to see some huge boobs for maybe 10 seconds before somebody turned the projector off. Big deal, they'll probably forget about it a week later, and it will have no appreciable effect on the business. At most it'll make them reevaluate their IT hiring policies.

    In exchange for that, this may well be a carreer ending move. And instead of it being done for some noble cause like exposing rampant corruption, he's done it for one of the stupidest reasons possible.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @06:16PM (#36536260) Homepage

    Oh, nice. Management finally read the "Complete Idiots guide to posting as AC".

    I've watched too many companies struggle after losing a star employee. Not just someone who's good at their job, but also good at a bunch of tangentially-related duties too. The coder with a background in corporate accounting, or the sysadmin with people skills, these hybrids are often the backbone of a small business, but the pigeonholing nature of management often fails to recognize that extra value. You can replace them with a regular, boring, single-minded IT guy, sure, but the new guy won't do all that extra stuff that was taken for granted.

    Given that a significant part of any IT skillset is problem-solving, usually the guy with the most diverse knowledge base is also the most creative and resourceful one. He might not be so great at coding, and he probably relies on Google a lot for server admin, but he'll be the one to save your hide when disaster strikes, because he understands how all the pieces fit together and can attack a problem from all angles at once.

    That's the kind of IT guy you'll miss when he's gone, and once the new husks run out of ideas 7 minutes into the crisis, that's the guy you'll be calling for help, and it won't be cheap.

  • by aeoo (568706) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @06:22PM (#36536320) Journal

    At least he didn't stab the CEO like they do in India. If the CEO culture doesn't improve, it will come to that eventually in USA. Mark my words.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @06:35PM (#36536416)

    Asking to only give the passwords to the Mayor is holding them hostage?

    Fail again. Asshole.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @06:44PM (#36536512)

    To satisfy his urge for revenge he committed an act that proves his firing was probably the right thing to do.

    Not only would I not hire the guy... I damn sure wouldn't want to work for him either.

  • by St.Creed (853824) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @07:01PM (#36536680)

    It's long been known that there are huge differences in productivity and output between IT-people. Some can do 8x the work of others. Some are respected in their field, other skilled IT-people want to work with them, but not with the nephew of the manager. There's all kinds of differences in personality and training.

    It's not just true in IT. I've seen a case where one person was doing all the accounting in a firm. He had spare time in the afternoon to compose music. Everything ran like clockwork. Then his replacement arrived (he retired). They had to cut down his workload to half the original job and he still can't keep up.

    Everyone is replaceable. It just isn't always very smart to replace good people with unknown quantities.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @07:57PM (#36537100) Homepage Journal

    it probably won't hurt him very much. We have a BofH that works in my area, hopping from place to place, with surprisingly similar behaviors here, and he just keeps finding new jobs. He'll work somewhere 6-24 months, get fired, (and usually try to exact revenge) and then just finds another sucker in no time.

    The problem here is so many companies are looking for computer experts because they aren't computer experts, so it's a market ripe for continuous abuse. There's always another sucker in this business, even in a small area like where I live. Simple background and reference checks would put these sorts out of business, but it's just not common enough because enough of the people doing the hiring don't know what to look for, even though it's dead simple.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @08:35PM (#36537330)

    Yes, but you are forgetting the flip side: piss him off and you will pay. I wouldn't hire him no matter how desperate I was.

    If you were a quality employer, you wouldn't be pissing off your employees. If you are, you deserve whatever comes back to you for abuse of power.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arkenian (1560563) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @09:37PM (#36537726)

    If someone can hold an entire city to ransom, they are clearly not "just another disposable grunt admin".

    I don't think you understand the concept of "disposable". It means when you're gone, they don't miss you. If you're gone and they want passwords that only you have, you weren't disposable.

    No, it means you weren't doing your job right and deserved to be fired. Any IT admin who doesn't put all the key admin passwords written down in a secure vault should be fired even if you can't get the passwords out of him and have to re-do your servers.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ehintz (10572) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @09:44PM (#36537768) Homepage

    Preachin' to the choir.

    Sad reality is, it's a young folks game. We old timers demand higher salaries, start getting bitchy about 80 hour weeks once we have families, etc. Bright eyed and bushytailed IT grads are cheaper and look more busy (prolly 'cause they haven't yet learned how to run shit efficiently, but PHBs don't comprehend that). Not to say there aren't gigs out there, but at the ripe old age of 42 I'm already pragmatically making contingency plans. Like it or not, there's a bias towards young folks in high tech. Which isn't to say it can't be done, but it's more of a challenge the older ya get. Fortunately that bias seems quite a bit less pronounced down here in NZ, which was one of the many reasons I buggered off here 8 odd years ago. I figure I'm doing better here than I would have if staying in the SFBA.

    (also, you mention programming/research-I expect those have higher old age retentions than sysadmin type work, particularly research)

  • Re:Awesome (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Dainsanefh (2009638) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @10:27PM (#36537972) Homepage

    People like you is exactly why we need laws that has mandatory hiring if an applicant is proficient. Human behaviours can be fixed easily if you know how to manage.

    I know if I come across one of these people I will hire immediately and he will turn out like a military veteran under my training. It is all about getting the right boss.

    People like you is why Amerika is going down.

  • Re:Unprofessional (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wolfling1 (1808594) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:04PM (#36538164) Journal
    Well, I do own an IT company, and I'm not hiring him.

    It is very normal for humans to have thoughts about revenge after a kick in the guts. Indeed, if we didn't think about revenge, there would be something wrong with us.

    However, converting those thoughts into actions is an indicator of poor impulse control, and extremely poor judgement.

    /. is a funny place as we can all think-out-loud about these things. Some people even make the mistake of believing that a few of the folks here would do these kinds of things.

    I prefer to think that the crazies don't inhabit this realm. That's why I keep coming back.
  • Re:Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elsurexiste (1758620) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @11:18PM (#36538238) Journal

    People like you is exactly why we need laws that has mandatory hiring if an applicant is proficient. Human behaviours can be fixed easily if you know how to manage.

    I know if I come across one of these people I will hire immediately and he will turn out like a military veteran under my training. It is all about getting the right boss.

    People like you is why Amerika is going down.

    Well, I'm not from Amerika, and I wouldn't hire him. If he can't control himself, how the hell can I trust on his leadership as a manager? When I had that urge to cause mayhem on a previous shitty job, I quitted. As simple as that. No amount of stupid revenge can pay for a clean ethics record.

    Besides... Installing keyloggers to extract passwords from those assholes at the top? Is that professional nowadays, an indication of proficiency, to use your words? My little sister installed one and she's only 8, so it's not really technical proficiency. I'm afraid I can't understand how the hell were you modded Insightful.

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