Former UBS system administrator gets eight years for logic bomb

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A former systems administrator for UBS PaineWebber was sentenced to over eight years in jail and fined US$3.1 million last week after he was found guilty for leaving a logic bomb on UBS' systems and trading securities on the assumption that the company's stock would fall.

Roger Duronio, 64, of Bogota, N.J. was found guilty of one count each of securities fraud and computer fraud in July.

Last week U.S. District Judge Joseph Greenaway, Jr. sentenced Duronio to 97 months in prison, the highest recommended sentence. Greenaway also ordered Duronio to pay UBS US$3.1 million in restitution. 

"This was a fitting, appropriately long sentence," said U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie. "Duronio acted out of misplaced vengeance and greed. He sought to do financial harm to a company and to profit from that, but he failed on both counts. The jury recognised this, and the judge did too by imposing a sentence at the top of the applicable range." 

During the trial earlier in this year, testimony revealed that Duronio, disenchanted at the size of his US$32,000 annual bonus, which he had expected to be US$50,000, put his plot into action in 2002. 

In February of that year, Duronio planted the bomb on more than 1,000 of UBS' network PCs in branch offices around the country. Witnesses said that Duronio's user account was used to create, modify, disseminate and install the logic bomb.  

After planting the malicious code, Duronio quit his job on Feb. 22 and visited his stock broker to buy more than US$21,000 in "put option" contracts that bet on UBS stock prices declining.  

Duronio's broker, Gerry Speziale, testified that an angry Duronio came to his office and said, "God knows what I can do to get even." Duronio detonated the bomb on Mar. 4, when it began deleting files on all infected computers.

UBS declined to announce how much it lost in operations, but it reported more than US$3 million in damages. 

The stock price, however, did not go down as a result of Duronio's malware. He lost all of his investment in the options buy, according to media reports.
Click here to email West Coast Bureau Chief Ericka Chickowsi.


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