A former IT worker for the Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi pleaded guilty yesterday (Aug. 16) to computer intrusion charges for remotely wiping out his ex-employer's computer infrastructure over a McDonald's Wi-Fi network to the tune of more than $300,000.
Jason Cornish, 37, of Smyrna, Ga., faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for illegally accessing Shionogi's U.S. computer networks and obliterating the contents of 15 virtual hosts used to run the equivalent of 88 servers, Patch.com reported.
Cornish also deleted the company's email and BlackBerry servers, its order-tracking system and its financial management software, leaving the company effectively frozen, "unable to ship product, to cut checks, or even to communicate via email," according to court documents.
Shionogi, which has offices in Atlanta and Florham Park, N.J., sells the popular cholesterol medication Crestor and the anti-depressant Cymbalta.
The hack took place about 6:05 a.m. on Feb 3 over the Wi-Fi network at a Smyrna McDonald's restaurant. A subsequent FBI investigation resulted in Cornish's arrest on July 1.
In contrast to the complexity of his attack, Cornish's motive for taking down Shionigi's servers was quite simple: he was protesting the company's decision to lay off his supervisor and friend of 15 years, identified in court documents as "B.N."
Cornish's sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 10.