Brooklyn Woman Allegedly Destroyed 20 Gigabytes of Credit Union's Data After Being Fired

A Brooklyn woman named Juliana Barile has pleaded guilty to deleting 20 gigabytes of data from the credit union where she worked after she was fired.

The unnamed credit union fired Barile from her part-time position on May 19, 2021. She then accessed the union's network file server two days later and deleted 21.3 gigabytes of data.

The data included over 20,000 files and 3,500 directories. She also deleted files related to mortgage loan applications and anti-ransomware protection software, the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote in a press release.

After she deleted the files, she sent a text message to a friend confessing her crime.

"I deleted their shared network documents," she texted.

Brooklyn Juliana Barile delete credit union
A Brooklyn woman named Juliana Barile has pleaded guilty to deleting 20 gigabytes of data, including financial records, in retaliation for being fired from her job at a credit union. In this photo illustration, a person deletes files from a tablet device, illustrated with a trashcan icon and the word "delete." SvetaZi/Getty

The credit union spent nearly $10,000 repairing the damage caused by the deletion, the DOJ said.

"Ms. Barile may have thought she was getting back at her employer by deleting files, however, she did just as much harm to customers. Her petty revenge not only created a huge security risk for the bank, but customers also depending on paperwork and approvals to pay for their homes were left scrambling," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael J. Driscoll said.

"An insider threat can wreak just as much havoc, if not more, than an external criminal," Driscoll continued. "The bank and customers are now faced with the tremendous headache of fixing one employee's selfish actions."

In court, Barile pleaded guilty to computer intrusion and destruction of data on a computer system. She now faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine.

Barile isn't the first employee to face charges for allegedly deleting files upon their departure.

In 2011, information technology (IT) administrator Michael Thomas allegedly deleted 615 backup files and half a dozen pages from the internal reference website of ClickMotive, a company that provides online services for car dealers, Wired reported. Thomas also allegedly turned off automatic backup settings in several parts of the company's network and altered e-mail and network settings to make it harder for his former colleagues to work remotely.

Thomas then resigned from the company. He left his former employers a note offering his services as an independent IT consultant. His employer later charged him with a felony count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, (CFAA) a 1986 law meant to punish malicious hacking.

Thomas's defense attorneys argued that he had neither hacked into the system nor was "malicious." All the data he deleted was stored elsewhere on the company's computer networks, his attorneys said.

On December 11, 2017, a federal appeals court found Thomas guilty. ClickMotive said it spent $130,000 to fix the issues he allegedly caused.

Newsweek contacted the DOJ for comment.