– Charles E. Taylor has been sentenced to federal prison for hacking
his former Atlanta-based employer and sabotaging their internal
communications network, causing more than $800,000 in damage.
“Taylor deliberately sabotaged the computer network he had been
entrusted to protect because he was upset with his former employer,”
said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Corporate insiders like Taylor
cause significant losses through hacking activity each year, and
companies must remain vigilant against insider threats to their network
“Taylor used sabotage to betray the trust placed in him by his
employer, causing extreme hardship for the company and his fellow
employees,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta.
“No amount of subterfuge will protect cyber criminals from being
unmasked, arrested and prosecuted by FBI investigators and federal
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information
presented in court: In 2013, Taylor, a resident of Jacksonville,
Arkansas, was hired as a systems administrator for a lumber and building
materials wholesaler. In early 2018, a large Atlanta-based building
products distributor acquired the company. Taylor kept his job as a
senior systems engineer after the merger, but he was unhappy with the
newly combined company and resigned in July 2018.
A month after his departure, Taylor conducted a multi-stage sabotage
campaign targeting the company’s network. Using information he gained in
his employment, Taylor logged into the network remotely without
authorization and used encryption methods to hide his network
connections. In mid-August 2018, Taylor changed passwords for network
routers located at dozens of company warehouses. Company employees were
unable to access the routers, and the company replaced them shortly
thereafter at a cost of roughly $100,000.
Days later, Taylor issued a shutdown command for a central command
server on the company’s network, crippling internal communications at
the company. As the company worked to restore its network over a two-day
period, employees at several of its branches were forced to take
customer orders by hand and field incoming orders using their personal
cell phones. In total, the server sabotage cost the company over
$700,000 dollars in lost profits and remediation costs.
Charles E. Taylor, 60, of Jacksonville, Arkansas, was sentenced by
U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee to one year and six months in prison, to
be followed by three years of supervised release - one year of which
will be served on home detention - and ordered to pay restitution in the
amount of $834,510. Taylor was convicted of computer fraud on February
19, 2020, after he pleaded guilty.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan P. Kitchens, Deputy Chief of the Cyber
and Intellectual Property Crimes Section, prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.