Kenneth Kezeor pleaded guilty Tuesday to intentionally damaging a protected computer by attacking a corporate computer application of his former employer. The plea was announced by United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.
Kezeor, 47, of Felton, Calif., acknowledged he was hired by a Silicon Valley company on July 7, 1997, and worked for the company and its successor until he was terminated on October 31, 2012, as part of a reduction in force. Prior to his termination, Kezeor worked as the system administrator for a customer support application and therefore had high-level access to the application and the associated database.
The name of his former employer was not disclosed in the government’s press release, but Kezeor’s LinkedIn profile indicates that from 1997-2010, he was Manager of NMR Tech Support for Varian, Inc.. Varian was purchased by Agilent Technologies in May, 2010. From then until his termination, Kezeor listed his title as Manager of NMR & MRI Tech Support for Agilent Technologies.
According to court documents and the plea agreement, Kezeor admitted that, for about four months after his termination, he used his administrator accounts to intentionally cause damage to his former employer’s application by transmitting information, codes, and commands. Kezeor also admitted to using the account of another employee to cause damage to the application. Kezeor’s transmissions impaired the availability and integrity of data, programs, systems, or information.
Kezeor was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 30, 2014. He was charged with one count of intentional transmission causing damage to a protected computer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A); and one count of intentional access to a protected computer recklessly causing damage, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(B). On April 28, 2016, the grand jury handed down a superseding indictment adding an additional charge of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A. Pursuant to yesterday’s agreement, Kezeor pleaded guilty to a single count of intentional transmission causing damage to a protected computer.
Kezeor, who remains free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced on September 20, 2016.