News and Press Releases

Arizona Systems Administrator Pleads Guilty to Sabotaging Ex-Employer’s Cloud-Computing Server

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January , 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Jonathan Hartwell Wolberg, 31, of Tucson, Az., pleaded guilty today to intentionally causing damage to a protected computer.

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Liam O’Grady.

Wolberg was indicted on August 22, 2013 by a federal grand jury on charges related to computer hacking.  Wolberg faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment when he is sentenced on April 11, 2013.

According to the indictment and a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Wolberg formerly worked as a systems administrator for a company identified as “Company A,” a cloud-computing services provider headquartered in the Eastern District of Virginia.  After resigning, Wolberg continued to enter the networks of Company A for the purpose of damaging its servers, its reputation, and its business.  From about March 16, 2012 through about August 1, 2012, Wolberg encouraged Company A’s customers to leave and secretly logged into Company A’s server to issue a shutdown command to a key data server.  As a result, he shut down Company A’s customer networks, making key information – including that of hospitals responsible for surgery and other urgent patient care – unavailable for at least several hours.  Wolberg caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage as a result.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Alexander T.H. Nguyen and Trial Attorney Richard D. Green, on detail from the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

 

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