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Complaint alleges computer crimes by Stoughton man

By George Hesselberg, The Wisconsin State Journal
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

May 07--Copying 21,778 sensitive files from the company that planned to lay him off resulted Tuesday in a Stoughton man being charged in Dane County Circuit Court with data-copying computer crimes.

The company is QBE Insurance, of Sun Prairie, more commonly known as General Casualty. A security analyst from QBE contacted police last November to report that someone had copied the files from an encrypted work laptop on to a portable USB hard drive. The switch was logged by a data loss protection system which analyzes how confidential data is being used.

According to the court complaint, the data transfer was traced to an employee, Terry L. Tiffany, 59, of Stoughton, an "infrastructure engineer" who was fired Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. The illicit data transfer was recorded at between 5:47 and 8:10 a.m.Nov. 7.

A Sun Prairie Police Department detective, Michael Wilson, on Nov. 9, went to Tiffany's home with a search warrant. Tiffany pointed out a hard drive and "confirmed it was used for the data breach."

He told Wilson he transferred files because he had received a request to meet at 11 a.m. and suspected he would be laid off. He denied opening or transferring any files other than his personal information, according to the complaint. Tiffany was described as someone who once "was considered to be highly trusted employee."

QBE officials told Sun Prairie police that because of the data breach, the company "launched an engineer callout" the next weekend, the cost of which was more than $190,000. A Madison Police Department computer crime expert, Detective Cindy Murphy, was able to locate additional sensitive company files that had been transferred earlier to Tiffany's laptop.

An initial appearance is scheduled for May 29 at 8:30 a.m.

The two counts of misdemeanor data copying carrying a maximum sentence of $10,000 in fines and nine months in prison each.

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(c)2014 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

Visit The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.) at www.wisconsinstatejournal.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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