A judge in New York has sentenced Dariusz J. Prugar, 32, of Syracuse, New York, to two years in prison for hacking his former employee, Pa Online, an internet service provider (ISP) formerly located in Enola, Pennsylvania.
According to court documents, Prugar worked as a systems administrator for Pa Online until June 2010, when after a series of "personal issues" with his employer, he was let go.
Days after his contract termination, Prugar used his old credentials to log into the ISP's network, install backdoors, and retrieve scripts and software on which he worked on during his employment at the company.
Seeking to hide his tracks, Prugar used an automated script that deleted various logs. As a side effect of removing some of these files, the ISP's systems crashed, affecting over 500 businesses and over 5,000 residential customers.
"As a result of [the] system being compromised or being rendered inoperable, [the Online Service] customers as well as other customers of [the Business] were unable to access their Internet and e-mail services," court documents read. "Some of the customers were involved in the transportation of hazardous materials as well as the online distribution of pharmaceuticals."
Pa Online employees tried to fix the damage caused by the mysterious outage, and since Prugar had architected most of the network, the ISP's management reached out to their former employee for help.
During negotiations, instead of requesting money as payment, Prugar insisted that he'd be paid using the rights to the software and scripts he wrote while at the company, software which was now malfunctioning, a week after he left.
Pa Online management got suspicious, smelled foul play, and filed a complaint with the FBI. The company also requested the help of a third-party contractor to fix the outage and rebuild their entire architecture, suspecting that Prugar was somehow involved.
The outage lasted for a week, during which time the ISP lost multiple clients, and took serious damage to its reputation.
As the FBI investigation progressed, it became clear that Prugar was behind the outage, and authorities charged Prugar in October 2012.
In the subsequent proceedings, Prugar pleaded guilty on computer hacking and wire fraud charges in March 2016.
He was sentenced on November 29, 2016, and Prugar must report to the Bureau of Prisons on December 27, 2016, to begin serving his prison sentence.
Prugar faced a jail sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He'll now have to spend two years in jail and pay $26,000 in restitution, according to the US Department of Justice.
As of October 1, 2015, Pa Online has ceased all operations.