Minneapolis Minnesota USA - Christopher Victor Grupe of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was charged on 11 Apr 2017 with one count of intentional damage to a protected computer and on 6 Oct 2017, following a five-day trial, was found guilty by a federal jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A sentencing date has not been set.
As proven at trial, from September 2013 until December 2015, Grupe was employed as an IT professional by Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), a transcontinental railroad company headquartered in Alberta, Canada, with U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On 15 Dec 2015, following a 12 day suspension, Grupe was notified by CP management that he was going to be fired due to insubordination.
However, at his request, Grupe was instead allowed to resign, effective that same day.
In his resignation letter, Grupe indicated that he would return all company property, including his laptop, remote access device, and access badges, to the CP office.
As proven at trial, on 17 Dec 2015, before returning his laptop and remote access device, Grupe used both to gain access to the CP network's core "switches", high-powered computers through which critical data in the CP network flowed.
Once inside, Grupe strategically deleted files, removed administrative-level accounts, and changed passwords on the remaining administrative-level accounts, thereby locking CP out of these network switches.
Grupe then attempted to conceal his activity by wiping the laptop's hard drive before returning it to CP.
On 6 Jan 2016, while trying to address a networking problem, the CP network staff discovered that they were unable to access the main network switches.
After CP IT staff was able to regain access to the switches through a risky, but successful, rebooting procedure, they discovered evidence in logging data stored in the memory of the switches connecting the damage to Grupe.
CP hired an outside computer security company to identify the source and scope of the intrusion as well as conduct an incident analysis, which also connected the damage to Grupe.
In total, CP experienced a financial loss of approximately US$30,000 as a result of Grupe's conduct.