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Former Employee Gets Jail for Drunken Water Plant Hack

He was too drunk to remember what happened.

On March 27, 2019, an Ellsworth, Kansas, water plant operator found the facility shut down and his remote access terminated. 

He drove to the water treatment facility and discovered that someone had shut down the facility's cleaning and disinfecting procedures. 

The incident was traced back to former employee Wyatt Travnichek, who used a shared password to shut down the Post Rock Rural Water District with his phone.

Travnichek, 23, only worked for the water utility for one year until he resigned in January 2019. 

While Travnicheck pleaded guilty, he said he was too drunk to remember what happened. 

Still, the former employee will spend a year in jail for tampering with public water and reckless damage.

The system supplies some 1,500 customers in central Kansas with water, according to the Kansas City Star. 

The incident highlights the risk operators run when sharing passwords. 

Travnichek was facing up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for tampering with a public water system, and up to five years and another $250,000 for reckless damage to a protected computer during unauthorized access.

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