A former database administrator for GEXA Energy has pleaded guilty to breaking into his former employer’s database system and will be sentenced next March.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Steven Jinwoo Kim, 40, “admitted to recklessly causing damage to a GEXA Energy protected computer” during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore today.
According to the release:
On Feb. 5, 2008, GEXA Energy terminated Kim’s employment as a Database Administrator and permanently revoked his access to all GEXA Energy facilities, computer networks and information technology systems. Approximately three months later, on May 1, 2009, Kim remotely accessed the GEXA Energy computer network and the GEXA Energy Management System (GEMS) database. While connected to the GEXA Energy computer network, Kim recklessly caused damage by, among other things, issuing various Oracle database commands which created a new data table in the GEMS production database which, when copied to the GEMS staging database, caused the automated script to fail thus impairing the availability of data.
As a result of Kim’s intrusion into their protected computer system, GEXA Energy incurred a loss of at least $100,000, the costs associated with troubleshooting, securing and repairing the GEXA Energy computer network and the GEMS database.
A previous release about the incident, which we wrote about earlier this year, noted that Kim allegedly transferred a database table with information on “thousands of Gexa Energy customers,” but that investigators have not found any “exploitation of the GEXA customer’s identities.”
Kim was also previoulsy accused of having child pornography on his personal computer’s hard drive, but today’s release does not mention that.
Sentencing for Kim is set for March 1, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. He faces a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. He remains free on bail.
Interesting side note: “The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the United States Secret Service…” It seems odd that the guys who are supposed to take a bullet for current and former presidents would be involved, but as our colleague Mary Flood pointed out, the Secret Service can “Investigate fraud in connection with identification documents, fraudulent commerce, fictitious instruments and foreign securities …”