Network IT bod gets four years for sabotage

A network engineer for oil and gas company EnerVest has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for sabotaging the company’s systems badly enough to disrupt its business operations for a month.

Ricky Joe Mitchell of Charleston, West Virginia, was told to pay $428,000 in restitution and a $100,000 fine.

In June 2012, Mitchell found out he was going to be fired from EnerVest and reset the company’s servers to their original factory settings. To make matters worse for the outfit, he disabled cooling equipment for EnerVest’s systems and switched off a data-replication process.

After he had finished EnerVest was unable to “fully communicate or conduct business operations” for about 30 days,. The company also had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on data recovery efforts, and part of the information could not be retrieved.

Mitchell’s actions cost EnerVest well over $1 million, according to the indictment against him.

Mitchell had faced up to 10 years in prison as well as three years of supervised release, but could serve less than the four years thanks to federal guidelines providing up to 54 days off per year for good behaviour.