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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

Corporate Security Alert: Beware the Terminated Employee’s Wrath

Post by Peter McCalister April 22, 2011

Employee terminations are, unfortunately, a necessary evil in corporate America today. In a time of recession, layoffs are more copious and often leave those affected angry and upset. Albeit in a very small minority of cases, some terminated employee backlash has led to disastrous consequences for former employers.

Case in point: Last week, a fomer network security engineer at Gucci America was indicted on charges that he illegally accessed the company’s network and deleted documents shortly after he was fired, costing Gucci nearly $200,000 in damages. Using an account he secretly created while working at the company, the former employee allegedly later accessed Gucci’s network and deleted virtual servers, shut down storage areas and wiped corporate mailboxes.

This case and the many others like it call attention to the importance of having policies and procedures in place to ensure terminated employees no longer have access to company information and resources. Email, network, and application accounts must be swiftly deactivated. Employees granted administrative privileges while at the company can also pose an even greater threat. Organizations need to take precautions to ensure departing employees’ privileges are revoked, root access passwords changed, etc. It sounds simple enough, yet it’s surprising how often these necessities are overlooked.

Another solution to consider is looking at the amount of information employees have access to even when they are employed. Are the right limits currently in place? It’s much easier to control fomer employees’ ability to access information when they were never able to access the information in the first place.

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