By Jaclyn Giovis
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
November 9 2006
A South Florida man appeared in federal court Wednesday morning on a
charge that he hacked into Fort Lauderdale-based Muvico Theaters'
computer system in May and made it impossible for the theater chain to
sell tickets online or process credit-card sales at six of its megaplex
Joseph Harlen Shook, Muvico's former director of information technology,
was indicted last week on a felony charge that he intentionally caused
harm to Muvico's computer system. He did not enter a plea Wednesday and
was released on $100,000 bail. The charge in the indictment, filed in
the U.S. District Court of the Southeastern District of Florida, carries
a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Shook was found in possession of a wireless adapter that had an ID
number that matched the one used to commit the computer intrusion, the
He worked at Muvico for more than a year and left the company about
three months before the computer attack, after his position was
eliminated, said Muvico spokesman John Spano.
Spano was unable to provide further details Wednesday. Muvico has not
filed charges against Shook but is evaluating whether it will do so, the
company spokesman said.
"[Federal authorities] did a thorough, thorough search," said Spano.
"We're thrilled they were able to identify the person."
Shook's attorney, Bruce Udolf of Fort Lauderdale, could not be reached
for comment late Wednesday.
Muvico claims it lost about $100,000 in ticket sales as a result of the
incident, which occurred May 5, during the premiere of the highly
anticipated Mission: Impossible III. The company's projections are based
on historical ticket sales data on previous Mission: Impossible releases
and other films of a similar genre, Spano said. The theaters that were
affected are in Boca Raton, Davie, St. Petersburg, Tampa, West Palm
Beach and Hanover, Md.
"Luckily, there was no compromise of people's credit-card or personal
information," Spano said. "Unfortunately, what was compromised was a
huge amount of revenue."
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