Company fired an employee, he shut down water utility providers’ networks in 5 cities

A former employee was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for damaging the IT networks of several water utility providers across the US East Coast.

Adam Flanagan (42) of Bala Cynwyd, PA was sentenced to one year and one day in prison by a Pennsylvania court for damaging the IT networks of several water utility providers across the US East Coast.

The news was reported by Bleeping Computer, the man worked between November 2007 and November 2013 as engineer for an unnamed company that manufactured smart water, electric, and gas readers.

Among the Flanagan’s tasks, there was the setup of Tower Gateway Basestations (TGB) for the customers, which were mainly water utility networks.

The Tower Gateway Basestations are essential components for water facility networks composed of smart meters installed at people’s homes that exchange data with water facility operators’ systems.

These networks allow water facility operators to collect consumption data and check the status of the installs at the customers’ homes.

On November 16, 2013, the company fired Flanagan for undisclosed reasons, then the man decided to punish the company by shutting down the TGB stations paralyzing the water facility networks of the company customers. Flanagan also changed passwords on some TGBs, using offensive words.

The utility providers had to send out employees at customer homes to collect monthly readings about their consumption.

“According to court documents, the FBI tracked down Flanagan’s actions to six incidents in five cities across the US East Coast: Aliquippa (Pennsylvania), Egg Harbor (New Jersey), Kennebec (Maine), New Kensington (Pennsylvania), and Spotswood (New Jersey).”reported Catalin Cimpanu from Bleepingcomputer.

The investigators were able to identify the former employee as the responsible of the incidents, then the US authorities filed charges on November 22, 2016. Flanagan faced a maximum sentence of 90 years in prison, plus a $3 million fine. He pleaded guilty on March 7, 2017, before receiving his sentence on June 14, 2017.

On June 14, 2017 he was sentenced to one year in the jail, let me just say that judges were clement.

Pierluigi Paganini

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