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PaineWebber Systems Admin Faces Trial For Computer Sabotage

A former systems administrator for financial giant UBS PaineWebber goes on trial Tuesday for allegedly sabotaging two-thirds of the company's computer network in what prosecutors say was a vengeful attempt to profit from a crashing stock price.

Roger Duronio, 63, of Bogota, N.J., is facing federal charges in front of a U.S. District Court in Newark, in connection to the creation and planting of malicious code on more than 1,000 computers in the company's central office, as well as in approximately 370 branch offices. When the malicious code, or "logic bomb," was triggered on March 4, 2002, it began deleting files and data, taking down many PaineWebber computers across the United States and hindering trading for days in some branch offices and for several weeks in others, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mauro Wolfe, lead prosecutor on the case.

The attack, according to the indictment, cost UBS PaineWebber, which was renamed UBS Wealth Management USA in 2003, $3 million just to assess and repair the damage. The company didn't submit a list of losses to the government based on business downtime or lost trading opportunities.

Chris Adams, Duronio's defense attorney and a partner at Walder Hayden & Brogan in Roseland, N.J., says the government has the wrong man. Duronio has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He has been free on bail awaiting trial for the past four years. Adams says he's not working in an IT position at this time.

According to Wolfe, Duronio is facing four counts--one count of computer intrusion, one count of mail fraud, and two counts of securities fraud. The government contends that Duronio tried to profit from the attack by manipulating the stock price of the global investment banking and securities firm with the attack on its network.

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