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Fired Employee Admits to Hacking Gucci

Just before his trial was to begin, Sam Chihlung Yin pleaded guilty to an attack that cost the luxury goods maker about $200,000.

July 18, 2012
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A former employee of New York-based Gucci America Inc., pleaded guilty to hacking into the company's servers, causing disruption that cost it $200,000 in lost time and resources.

Sam Chihlung Yin, 35, of Jersey City, New Jersey, admitted to first-degree computer tampering and 10 felony counts on the eve of his trial, according to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Yin used stolen property to disrupt Gucci's access to corporate email and other documents, officials said.

A former network engineer, Yin was fired by the Italian luxury goods maker for unrelated reasons. He was indicted on 50 counts of various felonies last April included computer tampering, identity theft and falsifying business records. He faced up to 15 years in prison, but in light of the guilty plea, the hacker is more likely to be sentenced to two to six years. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10.

"Computer hacking is not a game," Vance said in a statement last spring, following Yin's indictment. "It is a serious threat to corporate security that can have a devastating effect on personal privacy, jobs and the ability of a business to function."

Vance created the Cyber Crime and Identity Theft Bureau in 2010, and his office credits that group for this outcome.

Mary Shell writes for Crain's New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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