System admin’s Texan-sized rage leaves boot manufacturer’s systems crippled

You know what they say – everything’s bigger in Texas. That also includes the tantrums and resulting disaster one rogue IT staffer can cause.

Joe Vito Venzor, 41, worked as a systems engineer at Lucchese Boots, a manufacturer of boots in El Paso, TX, until he was fired one morning. According to the El Paso Times’ report, it took nearly an hour to escort Venzor from the building due to what court documents described as his “volatile” nature at the time.

Before anyone could breathe a sigh of relief, however, things around the plant started to go south. First the email went down, then high-level administrators couldn’t get into their accounts to reboot the servers and, finally, the application servers went down crippling the production line.

IT was unable to get things moving again after three hours, so employees were sent home and Lucchese called in a contractor to diagnose the problem.

There’s a snake in my boot!

On initial examination, it appeared as if a printer on the network, named “elplaser,” had perpetrated the attack. Until the contractor traced the account to – surprise surprise – Venzor’s computer. He had given elplaser administrative access, effectively creating a backdoor access point into the company’s network.

Also found in Venzor’s computer and email account was a list of usernames and passwords of IT staff that had administrator access. Venzor had gone right down the list when changing their credentials, preventing them from rebooting the system.

Lucchese valued the damages at $100,000 in lost production time and overtime hours needed to catch up on its orders. Furthermore, it had to pay the contractor and a new IT team that came in to rebuild the application servers Venzor had destroyed.

But this story ends on a happy note, don’t worry. All that evidence Lucc

hese collected was turned over to the authorities who then arrested Venzor. He plead guilty on March 30, 2017, with his sentencing hearing coming up on June 6, 2017.

Venzor is facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for sabotaging his former employer.

His printer account was a clever trick, with unfortunate results. Now may be a good time to double-check the accounts on your system with a little spring cleaning to make sure no appliances have network access they shouldn’t.