Saturday 10 December 2016

Porn website virus crashed travel firm's IT system for days

Ray Managh

Published 06/11/2010 | 05:00

Twenty-two porn sites -- some riddled with spam and relating to drunken prostitutes -- were accessed from a computer rented to a businessman by a travel agent, a court heard yesterday.

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A computer virus crippled the travel firm's entire IT system for several days in 2008, leaving the company unable to send emails to its customers.

The company, Neenan Travel Ltd of South Leinster Street, Dublin, sued travel agent Omar Bounazou of Grangebrook Vale, Rathfarnham, Dublin, for more than €7,000, which was the cost of restoring its system.

In turn, Mr Bounazou claimed he was owed air-travel rebates worth more than €17,000, which he said were not passed on to him by the travel firm.

The case was settled yesterday on undisclosed terms.

Dublin Circuit Civil Court was told that Neenan Travel had rented a basement office and a computer linked to its IT system to Mr Bounazou, who does not deny that the sites were accessed from his PC.

However, Mr Bounazou claimed that he did not know if the virus was downloaded by him clicking on "one or other" of the sites when they popped up on his screen.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane heard that Neenan Travel had provided Mr Bounazou with access to its system, but there was no proof that he had actually downloaded a virus by clicking on to a particular site. Mr Bounazou was to allege a deficiency in virus protection on the Neenan computer.

The judge said that a list of 22 sites had been handed in to the court and she felt that it was not necessary for them to be read out in public.

The court heard a virus had spread through all of the company's PCs after contact was made with the porn sites.

Managing director Alan Neenan said in 2006 Mr Bounazou started renting a basement office and was given a link to the company's system.

In October 2008, Neenan Travel noticed emails were not going out to clients. Experts were called in and the source of a virus was traced to Mr Bounazou's PC.

Blacklisted

Mr Neenan said the firm's computer domain had been blacklisted on the Eircom server and they had to switch to another one. Eventually they discovered that they had been blacklisted on clients' servers and had to get an expert company to remove them from the list.

The court heard that Mr Bounazou had only raised the claim about rebates after the virus was discovered and he had given notice of leaving to join another company.

The case was adjourned to facilitate implementation of the terms of settlement. Mr Bounazou had not given evidence before settlement was reached.

Irish Independent

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