HR Executive Deleted Resumes AFTER Being Fired: Cybersecurity Trends

Remember last month when I covered the story about nearly 1 in 4 employees responding to a survey saying they still had access to accounts from past jobs?  This is what can happen when companies don’t close those loops.  According to a recent article, the former head of human resources at 1-800-Accountant has been convicted after she maliciously destroyed company personnel files and deleted resumes for prospective employees AFTER she had been fired. How many resumes did she delete? A lot.

According to the MSN article (Disgruntled HR executive trashed personnel files and deleted 17,000 resumes after being fired — now faces up to 15 years in prison, written by Lukas I. Alpert), Federal prosecutors say that Medghyne Calonge, 41, of Tampa, Fla. had been let go in June 2019 after just six months at the New York-based online accounting firm for poor performance. One issue that prosecutors cited was that she inappropriately locked a colleague out of a computer system after they had gotten into an argument.

As Calonge was being fired over the phone, colleagues reported seeing her repeatedly hitting the delete key on her computer, according to prosecutors.

Hours after being escorted out of the company’s St, Petersburg, Fla. office where she worked, Calonge logged into an outside computer system used by the firm to manage its job applications. She then deleted resumes for prospective employees (17,000 of them) and left messages containing profanity throughout the files, prosecutors said.

“Medghyne Calonge intentionally and maliciously caused severe damage to the computers of her former employer,” said Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “Her actions wiped out information vitally important to the employer company, and cost the company money and time to repair.”

Calonge was convicted of two counts of damaging computers after a six-day trial in New York and faces as much as 15 years in prison when she is sentenced on Dec. 2. She was previously convicted of forgery in 2008 in Florida and was arrested in 2002 for writing a bad check, court records showed.

Investigators said the company had spent over $300,000 over two years to build the system Calonge wrecked and that it cost them $100,000 more to get it working again. Many files were unable to be retrieved, prosecutors said. Looks like she not only deleted resumes, but a lot more.

I see stories like this several times a year and it illustrates the importance to immediately revoke credentials to all systems when an employee departs and to have a checklist to make sure all are addressed.  It only takes one slip up in procedures to cost a company big time in terms of restoring systems and data loss.

So, what do you think?  Does your organization have a checklist to immediately revoke credentials when employees depart?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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