A Smithtown man who was “bent on revenge” after unceremoniously resigning from his job at a Suffolk County high-voltage power manufacturer allegedly hacked into the company’s network and sabotaged the business, causing nearly $100,000 in damages, federal authorities said Thursday.
Michael Meneses, a software programmer, was arrested by the FBI Thursday and was charged with hacking into the company’s network.
The 41-year-old man’s position as one of two employees responsible for ensuring the software was operating smoothly afforded him “high-level access” to the company’s network, officials said.
He resigned in December 2011 after expressing “his displeasure at being passed over for promotions,” according to the criminal complaint, and proceeded to launch a “three-week campaign to inflict damage on the company by gaining unauthorized access to its network and sabotaging the company’s business,” authorities said.
Meneses used high-tech methods to hack into the company’s network, officials said, and stole his former colleagues’ security credentials, enabling him to remotely access the network through a private network from his home and a local hotel, the complaint alleges.
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch characterized Meneses’ behavior as a “a 21st Century campaign of cybervandalism and high-tech revenge.”
During one alleged hack attempt, Meneses allegedly sent commands to alter the business calendar by one month, officials said, disrupting the company’s production and finance operations. The hacking cost the company $90,000 in damages, officials said.
Meneses also directed his frustration at those seeking to replace him by allegedly creating an email account discouraging applicants to accept his former position. An email from email@example.com stated: “Don’t [sic] accept any position from,” the company, according to the complaint.
“Bent on revenge, the defendant exploited his access and his technical know-how to sabotage his former employer,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos. “As alleged, he caused significant disruption and monetary damage.”
If convicted, Meneses faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.