Former Medco Systems Administrator Indicted on Fraud Charges Related to ‘Logic Bomb’ Program
A federal grand jury this week indicted Yung-Hsun Lin, a former systems administrator for pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions, on fraud charges over allegations that he installed on company servers a "logic bomb," a program that could have erased important prescription information for 60 million patients, the New York Times reports. The information included data that pharmacists use to prevent potential adverse events from improper prescription drug combinations.
According to federal prosecutors, Lin installed the program after the company spun off from former parent company Merck in fall 2003 over concerns about layoffs and had designed the program to run on his birthday in April 2004, but a glitch made the program fail. Lin revised the program to run in April 2005, but a Medco systems analyst found the program in January 2005, prosecutors said. Medco in March 2005 terminated Lin for misconduct after an internal investigation and referred the case to the FBI Cybercrime Unit.
Christopher Christie, U.S. attorney for New Jersey, said, "A malicious program like this can bring a company's operations to a grinding halt and cause millions of dollars in damage from lost data, system downtime, recovery and repair."
Lin's attorney Valerie Wong acknowledged that he developed the program but said that he designed the program to automatically erase prescription information as Medco ended use of some company servers. Wong said, "We do not deny that he designed the code, but what they call a logic bomb was a way to handle things more efficiently," adding, "The program was in a testing phase and he never used it."
Lin, who will formally enter a plea at arraignment in the case on Jan. 3, 2007, could face as many as 10 years in prison (Smothers, New York Times, 12/20).