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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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  • Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

    by headhot (137860) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @04:41PM (#36535270) Homepage

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

    • 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.

      • "Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned."
      • 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?

        • 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.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by frosty_tsm (933163)

            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.

            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.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              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.

            • 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.

              Yeah, but that's a chance you take with ANY IT manager. Regardless of technical knowledge, they are all human beings.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              So... you hire people with the intention of screwing them over...?

          • by geoskd (321194)

            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.

            But he also left a number of vulnerabilities in the systems he was administering. Whether deliberate or accidental this is a dangerous failure. He has since demonstrated that even if he didn't know about the vulnerabilities, he had the ability to find out, and failed to do so.

            -=Geoskd

        • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

          by cdrudge (68377) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @06:25PM (#36536340) Homepage

          Sounds well suited for a job at Geek Squad.

        • by ehintz (10572)

          Eh. He's 52. Odds of getting back in the tech game at that age diminish quickly, even if you're completely clean. Just about time to start thinking about something new and interesting to pursue anyway, so why not go out with a bang... (not that I would, I'm not one for bridge burning, but I'd wager the guy hasn't really hurt his future tech employment odds by much, since there's probably precious few anyway)

          • 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.

          • by sstamps (39313)

            Not sure wtf that is supposed to mean. Who said he has left "the tech game"? Getting old by itself doesn't make knowledge and experience just poof, ya know. I fully expect to continue to do research, programming, and tech work until the day they find me keeled over on my keyboard.

            • 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)

        • by ATMAvatar (648864)
          He could pass himself off as a security consultant rather easily, I would imagine.
    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      Problem with the scenario: people (like yourself) are already saying "For that penalty, it's almost worth it.".

      Anytime the penalty is "worth it", it's not acting as the deterrent that it should be.

      • Re:Awesome (Score:4, Funny)

        by Hal_Porter (817932) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @06:01PM (#36536118)

        They should cut his nuts off.

        That way all the other computer janitors in the US will shuffle along swiftly and doff their caps humbly to the wealth creating class, motivated by FEAR.

        /Oh sorry, wrong forum.

      • I'm not sure I buy that logic. If I'm late to work, I might decide that speeding to get to work faster and keep my job is "worth" the risk of a speeding ticket. Heck, even if the penalty were death (and I suppose the penalty for speeding is often death), there are people desperate enough to keep their jobs to take that risk. Should we punish people more depending on how much they stand to gain from successful crime? Thus speeders late to work would be given larger fines than people just joyriding?
        • by cyborch (524661)
          Given how many people hate their jobs I'd say the penalty for joyriding should be higher than the penalty for speeding to get to work on time...
    • 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.

  • 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 conner_bw (120497) *

      A pornographic variation of this classic [ex-parrot.com] could have been more subtle.

      Optionally, he could have superimposed his own face over the actors in the CEOs porn stash, but only after a few minutes of arousal time, ruining porn forever.

      • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @04:54PM (#36535442) Journal

        I wrote a script once that redirected traffic via a proxy to babblefish which translated it to English to Russian and than back to English again. :-)

        It made all the emails from hotmail look like they written by a 6 year old. Unfortunately, security software started catching up with man in the middle attacks by the time I was about finished as this was technically a redirect :-( so I could never use it without antivirus software screaming today.

        If the guy is old a really embarrasing thing to link is this video. [ebaumsworld.com] FYI not worksafe or the faint of heart ... aka a shocker. ;-)

        • Yeah so I clicked through... watched it... ok... erm, perhaps because I'm European I'm liberal and didn't really find this funny.... a the guy refers to "Lemon Party"? so what is it? I googled it and clicked on the first link. I've now eaten my own puck.
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      am i bad to assume that the "pornographic" image was goatse?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

    • by gman003 (1693318)
      Agreed. I was once fired from a lame part-time job. I still smile every time I pass by the now-closed location - they literally couldn't last two months without me, as I was quite often the only one (of a shift of 6) not on a smoke break.
    • Yah nothing beats the business going to shit and the business owner who is raping the business bling for money and stock to pay his debts doesn't realise the firing his most important employee (to use the money he paid me for steal even more from the company) leads to at least 1/2 of the customers never coming back. Fuck yah it felt good. My phone was rining non stop for two weeks afterwards when customers found out I wasn't there. Eveyone one of them said the only reason they shopped there was because of m

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        Doesn't just apply to after being fired.

        I remember when I finally left my last dead-end job (7 years ago). It was terrible. We were expected to check voicemail (several times per day), but we didn't have our own phones available, so we had to go to our ego-inflated boss's office each time to ask to use his phone and type in our voicemail codes. I gave them my notice (actually gave them 4 weeks) and was gone. 2 weeks later that boss was calling me up asking if I'd like to work for 4 hours part time in th

    • Yup.

      I'm about to find this out in a couple of weeks...

      (the new job is roughly 2x better, with a bigger salary, lighter workload, a bit more travel, but I can live with the latter).

    • by Threni (635302)

      > Doing something on the way out or after you leave just proves you didn't have any positive effect on the business.

      Why? Why can't someone get fired for a stupid reason not have a laugh at their expense. I'd buy the guy the drink and have a laugh about it; says nothing about his ability to develop/fix problems etc.

    • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:41PM (#36535906) Journal

      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.

      Ah, but the difference between "let" and "cause" is the difference between schaenfreude and "boy, you got a purty mouth". Depending upon the mood of the judge, that difference is literal.

      He did get lucky.

    • by geoskd (321194)

      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.

      That is only from a "man in the trenches" perspective. A better measure of a manager, is how well the place runs when they are away for vacations, and right after they leave / get transferred or promoted. A good manager will setup their operation to run well especially when they are not there. A poor manager micromanages, and everything turns to s#!t when they are not there because no one will make a decision without the boss.

      -=Geoskd

  • Smells like he might have gotten his idea from this recent SMBC Theater [youtube.com] video. (NSFW)

  • idiocracy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    why are six of the last 7 stories tagged with 'idiocracy'?
  • 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.

    • by Bogtha (906264)

      Way to stick it to your old colleagues too. It's not the CEO that's going to be stuck cleaning up the security breach.

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:06PM (#36535604)
    How did the presentation go?
    • My question is: why did he get fired? Everyone is saying they are so happy he did this, but what if he really did deserve to get fired? If he didn't deserve it, then good on him. But we don't know both sides of the story. At least I missed it in TFA.
  • by bughunter (10093) <.ten.knilhtrae. .ta. .retnuhgub.> on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:09PM (#36535634) Journal

    This story reminds me of a friend who, 20 years ago, was the IT person for a small aerospace startup that ran a Macintosh network with a single dial-in. (He may even be reading this: hats off, Mr Jones!)

    They fired him, unamicably, and failed to change the passwords on the dialup (among other mistakes not later abused). So he decided to get his revenge by dialing in and sending multiple copies of a word document to every printer in the company (501 copies, iirc, guaranteed to empty every paper tray). The document was a quote from the Blonde Bimbo Office Manager ("BBOM"), in 36-point Helvetica:

    "I've been at the bottom, and I've been at the top. I don't care how much dick I have to suck, I'm not going to be at the bottom again." Signed, [BBOM]

    I was still there when it happened. The best part was, the BBOM took a stack of these printouts to every person in the building, shrieking: "Did you do this? Did YOU do this??" Nobody know who did it, in fact I think few even suspected the dialup.*

    Now those are some lulz.

    [*I didn't know it was him until months later, after the company laid off 90% of its staff, including me. Its doors shut a year later.]

    • by billcopc (196330)

      If you ever bump into Mr. Jones, have him email me. I wanna buy this man a fuckin' BEER! :D

  • I'd say that's a pretty appropriate story for a blog named "Naked Security [sophos.com]."

  • but I bet that guy got his sentence, and said... "WORTH IT!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @05:14PM (#36535674)

    When someone pulls a stunt like this, all they're doing is making it hard for everyone.

  • 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....
    • The article leaves a lot out for example we know he was convicted but do we know if he actually did it? Not enough there for any sort of opinion; might be more along the lines as he was the only one anybody suspected so the prosecution just went with the flow and Powell couldn't afford competent defense and copped a plea for a suspended sentence.

  • All arguments about the guy's maturity and professionalism aside, I've got to admit that 100 hours of community service isn't a bad price to pay for a "Fuck you!" prank like that. And I'll bet his only regret is not being able to see the reactions at the meeting.

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      On the other hand, having a guilty plea for a felony related to his industry on his record is going to leave a lasting mark.
  • Unprofessional (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueCoder (223005) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @06:06PM (#36536170)

    This guy would have been smarter if he had found another disgruntled employee and waited a while and then framed him. Or could it be that that is what happened, he could have been marked as an obvious target and someone smarter set him up! Whomever did the hacking it was still childish, the equivalent of keying someones car.

    I don't own an IT company but I wouldn't want to work with this guy. Very childish. I can't wait until we finally see these clowns plant child porn or evidence of credit card fraud and other serious crime so they can prove what I have said for years about that subject and computer vulnerability. The first being that no content should be illegal no matter how vulgar it is aka 1st amendment (instead use it to track down people and make sure they aren't committing crimes and making content). Second computer systems are insecure and any lay person should discount any digital evidence taken from a persons personal devices (it's just too easy to frame people). Hacking in inherently unprovable unless you actively bug a persons house and computer and can show he manned the keyboard and can be video recorded tying the things they accused him of doing. I say this because even I would be smart enough to rig a persons computer to do things in the background while he was physically at the computer.

    As far as law enforcement I am surprised that more people aren't up in arms over the fact that with a simple accusation the police can come in and permanently seize thousands of dollars of computer equipment and all your personal information and just maybe you'll get it back five years later when it's obsolete and only if you managed to actually prove your innocence (not found not guilty). Further they take can take all your backups so you have nothing to restore from. Then they will probably try to strong arm you with the lure of getting your property back. And this is all legal.

    • 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.
  • 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.

  • Every once in a while, I'll think about some crappy situation I was in while doing something really cool, like driving along the coast. That's when I know I got the best revenge.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We had a similar issue happen in my office once - not replacing a presentation with pornography, but instead, a recently terminated employee (who was misguidedly provided remote access at all) whose role involved managing calendars and appointments for a handful of executives and leaders, created fake, inappropriate appointments with officers and very high ups.

    Leadership came down to our offices and asked why this person was allowed to do this after having been let go. Unfortunately, that was the fi

  • We were ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday June 22, 2011 @08:48PM (#36537442)

    ... 15 minutes into watching someone take it in the @ss before we realized it wasn't a demonstration of HR's new policy.

  • by hamburgler007 (1420537) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @12:23PM (#36543748)
    Now you are convicted felon (probably, 2 years suspended), can no longer vote, and are almost certainly unemployable with the exception of the most menial of jobs. You are not some "l33t hacker," you basically did what any 14 year old computer savvy kid knows and can figure out. You have the maturity of a 14 year old as well, and it's probably what ended up getting you fired in the first place. So was it worth it?

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