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Ex-Shionogi Worker Gets 41 Months for Computer Hacking

A former information technology worker at the U.S. unit of Shionogi & Co., a Japanese drugmaker, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for hacking into the company computer network and deleting parts of it, court records show.

Jason Cornish, 37, also must pay $812,567 in restitution to Shionogi Inc. in Florham Park, New Jersey, U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler ordered. Cornish pleaded guilty in August in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, to carrying out the attack on Feb. 3, 2011.

Cornish resigned from Shionogi in September 2010 after the company announced job cuts that would affect a close friend who was a former supervisor, according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

In the attack, he accessed the computer system, took control of a piece of software he had secretly installed weeks earlier, and deleted the contents of 15 “virtual hosts” that house the equivalent of 88 computer servers, Fishman said.

The deleted servers housed most of Shionogi’s American computer infrastructure, and the attack “effectively froze Shionogi’s operations for a number of days, leaving company employees unable to ship product, cut checks or communicate by e-mail,” according to the statement.

Cornish started the attack from a computer connected to the wireless network of a McDonald’s Corp. restaurant in his hometown of Smyrna, Georgia, Fishman said.

Cornish attorney Richard Merritt didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The case is USA v. Cornish, 11-cr-546, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

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