Omega Engineering Sabotage

Event Year: 1996 Reliability: Confirmed
Country: United States
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.

Shortly before the attack, Tim Lloyd, a 37-year-old network administrator, moved the programs off individual workstations and onto Omega’s central NetWare file server. And there were no back-up tapes to access because Lloyd brought them home and reformatted them, according to testimony at his trial for computer sabotage, which ended last week in a guilty verdict.  He was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution.


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.