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Former Siemens Contractor Sentenced to Prison for Planting Logic Bombs

A 62-year-old man from Harrison City, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to prison for planting logic bombs in programs he created for German industrial giant Siemens.

David Tinley, a former contract employee at a Siemens facility in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to six months in prison and two years of supervised release, and he has been ordered to pay a $7,500 fine.

According to authorities, Tinley created some computer programs for Siemens and between 2014 and 2016 he planted logic bombs into those applications. The logic bombs, which are pieces of code that trigger malicious functions when specified conditions are met, were designed to cause the Siemens software to malfunction after a certain date.

Since Siemens could not figure out why the application was not working properly, the company was forced to call in Tinley and pay him to fix the issues.

Tinley pleaded guilty to intentionally damaging a protected computer in July, when the Justice Department announced that he was facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

According to Law360 (registration required), the programs referenced by prosecutors were actually spreadsheets that Siemens used to manage orders. The logic bombs were discovered by Siemens in May 2016, when Tinley could not personally fix the problems due to being out of town and he provided the password for unlocking the spreadsheets to Siemens staff.

Siemens is said to have paid tens of thousands of dollars investigating Tinley’s activities.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.