NEW YORK — A former Gucci network engineer was sentenced to between two and six years in state prison Monday for hacking into the luxury brand’s servers, causing more than $200,000 in damages.
This story first appeared in the September 11, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The sentencing comes two months after defendant Sam Chihlung Yin, 35, pleaded guilty to computer tampering in the first degree and criminal possession of computer-related materials.
“The fashion industry plays a critical and driving role in the city’s economy — and not just during New York Fashion Week,” said District Attorney Cyrus Vance. “Today, a computer hacker is going to state prison for attacking the network of his former employer, which is one of the more than 900 fashion companies based here in New York. As we have seen in many cybercrime cases, these so-called ‘insiders’ at companies have the ability to harm their employers, coworkers and the company’s clients, customers and even products. This is but one example in the fight against cybercrime and our ongoing efforts to repel attacks and protect electronic systems.”
Yin, who was arraigned last spring in Manhattan Supreme Court, had been fired from New York-based Gucci America Inc. in May 2010.
Following his departure, the Jersey City resident used an account he had created during his tenure at Gucci to tamper with the computer system, shutting down some of its servers and networks, and deleting data from others. In June 2010, Yin had e-mailed his former coworkers using a fictional identity he had created and “tricked” them into giving him access to the network by activating a virtual private network (VPN) token. This enabled Yin to gain “unfettered access” to Gucci’s network and gain administrator-level passwords.
Five months later, Yin hacked the company’s e-mail, causing hundreds of Gucci employees to lose access to documents and e-mail for nearly 24 hours.
Yin, who had been indicted on 50 counts of various felonies, faced up to 15 years in prison, but because he pleaded guilty, he was sentenced to a much lighter two- to six-year term in jail.