Former IT director indicted for hacking Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

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by Jason Volentine

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonvolentine

Video report by Jason Volentine

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 10:11 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 7:19 PM

PHOENIX -- The former IT director for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is accused of hacking the system he helped build.

According to MCSO, a Maricopa County grand jury indicted Robert Rampy for wrongfully accessing criminal history records, computer tampering and felony identity theft. In all, the once valued MCSO employee faces 14 felony charges.

Rampy was a 12-year-veteran with MCSO in charge of the department's telecommunications for more than half a decade. He resigned from the department on good terms in 2012 in order to pursue a higher paying IT job that would oversee information technology for the entire county. The county position would have allowed Rampy electronic access to the courts and even state level computer systems.

However, Rampy didn't get the job and shortly after, according to investigators, started hacking into the MCSO system he helped create.

Deputies said Rampy still had ample knowledge of the system and used the log-in credentials of a former co-worker to gain access. Once he had hacked into the system, MCSO said Rampy tampered with software and rearranged the network to damage communications capabilities -- potentially endangering deputies in the field.

"[He] actually made it so the systems would not communicate to the deputies, to the first responders, appropriately," said MCSO spokesman Lt. Brandon Jones. "That caused about a 40-minute time delay between communications."

Deputies said Rampy also illegally ran background checks on three acquaintances. MCSO hasn't released information on who those people are or what Rampy was looking for (the indictment will contain more complete information but was still sealed at the time of this publication).

Rampy has not been arrested. He'll have to appear in court at some point to respond to the allegations. Meanwhile, MCSO said it will be looking at its computer security procedures to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

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