Hard Time for Hacking into GA Pacific

Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 03:02 PM gHale


A former worker at Georgia-Pacific got 34 months in prison and three years of supervised release for hacking into the systems of the pulp and paper giant, officials said.

Brian P. Johnson, 44, of Baton Rouge, LA, had worked at the company’s paper mill in Port Hudson, Louisiana, as an IT specialist and system administrator until February 14, 2014, when he ended up terminated and escorted from the facility.

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Johnson then remotely accessed the facility’s computers and caused system failures over the course of several days, said officials at the Department of Justice (DoJ). When the FBI searched the man’s home in late February 2014, agents noticed a VPN connection to Georgia-Pacific’s systems on his computer.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of paper products. The company has more than 200 facilities worldwide and it employs roughly 35,000 people.

The damage caused by the disgruntled employee ended up estimated at more than $1.1 million, which Johnson will have to pay in restitution to Georgia-Pacific. He must also pay $100 to the government and forfeit the devices used to commit the crime, DoJ officials said.

The former sysadmin ended up indicted in June 2015 and pleaded guilty to intentionally damaging a protected computer in February 2016. He will begin serving his prison term next month.

“This case is a powerful reminder of the very real threat and danger that businesses and individuals face from cyberattacks and other cyber-related criminal activity,” said U.S. Attorney Walt Green. “The best defense to these sorts of attacks includes security, training, and continued vigilance at the facility level.”

Last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana launched a new cybersecurity initiative which handles such threats, including attacks on critical infrastructure.



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