Omega Engineering Sabotage
|Industry Type:||Electronic Manufacturing|
The morning of July 31, 1996, the first worker in the door at Omega Engineering’s manufacturing plant in Bridgeport, N.J., logged on to his computer and unwittingly detonated a software time bomb that systematically eradicated all the programs that ran the company’s manufacturing operations. Ralph Michel, Omega’s chief financial officer, testified that the software bomb destroyed all the programs and code generators that allowed the company to manufacture 25,000 different products and to customize those basic products into as many as 500,000 different designs.
Omega suffered $12 million in damages and lost its competitive footing in the high-tech instrument and measurement market. Eighty workers lost their jobs as a result. “We will never recover,” said plant manager Jim Ferguson.
After the system went down, in desperation, the company continued to run the machines with the programs already loaded on, until they ran out of raw materials or began choking on the inventory. Michel said the company spent $2 million to reprogram the machines and lost an estimated $10 million in sales and other costs.