By Robert McMillan
IDG News Service
A former IT consultant for an oil and gas exploration company has
pleaded guilty to tampering with the company's computer systems after he
was turned down for a permanent position with the company.
Mario Azar, 28, pleaded guilty on Sept. 14 to one count of damaging
computer systems and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. News of his
plea was announced Wednesday by the U.S. Federal Bureau of
According to court records, Azar accessed Supervisory Control and Data
Acquisition (SCADA) computer systems belonging to Pacific Energy
Resources of Long Beach, California, and caused the company to lose
control of its computer systems around May or June of 2008.
Only a handful of SCADA computer intrusions have been reported, but
because the systems are used to control large-scale industrial systems
in manufacturing plants, public utilities and the chemical industry,
security experts worry that tampering with them could lead to a
large-scale power outage or environmental disaster.
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