Disgruntled former employee pleads guilty to trashing credit union’s computers
The defendant destroyed more than 20 gigabytes of data, including financial records, in retaliation for being fired
On Tuesday, Juliana Barile pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court to one count of computer intrusion after she intruded into a credit union’s website and destroyed valuable data on the site after she was terminated as an employee of the credit union.
The guilty plea took place before United States District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano. When sentenced, Barile faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine.
Barile was fired from her position as a part-time employee with the unnamed credit union on May 19, 2021, according to court documents. Two days later, on May 21, she remotely accessed the credit union’s file server and deleted more than 20,000 files and almost 3,500 directories, totaling approximately 21.3 gigabytes of data. The deleted data included files related to mortgage loan applications and the credit union’s anti-ransomware protection software. Barile also opened confidential files. After she accessed the computer server without authorization and destroyed files, Barile sent text messages to a friend explaining that “I deleted their shared network documents,” referring to the credit union’s share drive.
To date, the credit union has spent approximately $10,000 in remediating Barile’s unauthorized intrusion and destruction of data.
Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, acting United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge, FBI New York Field Office, announced the guilty plea.
“In an act of revenge for being terminated, Barile surreptitiously accessed the computer system of her former employer, a New York credit union, and deleted mortgage loan applications and other sensitive information maintained on its file server,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kasulis. “Protecting private financial data from being compromised or destroyed by unauthorized computer intrusions is an important priority of this office.”
“Ms. Barile may have thought she was getting back at her employer by deleting files, however she did just as much harm to customers. Her petty revenge not only created a huge security risk for the bank, but customers also depending on paperwork and approvals to pay for their homes were left scrambling,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll. “An insider threat can wreak just as much havoc, if not more, than an external criminal.”
The Eastern District of New York’s Cybercrime Task Force was formed in May 2021 to combat cybercrime, which is proliferating in the United States as well as internationally. The task force’s goals are to initiate cybercrime investigations and prosecutions, disseminate information about emerging cybercrime issues and trends, and heighten awareness about a wide variety of cybercrime schemes. It works with the FBI, the United States Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and others.
The government’s case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Cybercrime Task Force and the National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys David K. Kessler and Meredith A. Arfa are in charge of the prosecution.
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