Disgruntled SCADA consultant pleads guilty

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A disgruntled IT contractor pleaded guilty this week to federal charges that he disrupted a computer system used to alert on oil leaks.

Mario Azar, 28, of Upland, Calif., had been charged with one felony count of intentionally damaging a supervisory-control and data-acquisition (SCADA) computer system at Pacific Energy Resources in Long Beach, Calif. He was an IT consultant under contract to the company.
Azar helped set up the SCADA system, which served in part as a leak detection system, and had been upset he wasn't offered permanent employment at the company, according to the indictment.

Azar received his final paycheck from Pacific Energy Resources on May 8, 2008, and immediately set about disabling the system, causing thousands of dollars of damage, according to prosecutors.

Azar “caused damage by impairing the integrity and availability of data,” temporarily taking the system down, according to the indictment, though the outage did not lead to any oil leaks or environmental harm.

The FBI announced the plea Wednesday; the actual plea was entered Sept. 14, in the United States District Court of Los Angeles.

Azar's sentencing is scheduled for December 7. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

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