Fired IT worker changed password, wants $200K to fix it, college says

A college filed a lawsuit against a fired IT employee over a password to an account filled with email and course material for 2,000 students.

A fired IT employee took hisrevenge on a for-profit online college before he left, changing a password on an account that stored email and course material for 2,000 students, the Indianapolis-based online school has alleged in a lawsuit.

In his own lawsuit, the employee contends that the administrator’s password was autosaved on his company laptop that was returned to the college and his firing was racial discrimination.

But lawyers for the American College of Education said Triano Williams of Riverdale, Ill., really wants the school to rehire him as a consultant — for $200,000.

Welcome to the new frontier of tech concerns in the cloud.

“A lot of organizations are using cloud-based services and online services like this,” said Von Welch, director of Indiana University’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. “Even under a good situation, somebody could leave and then you find out the cloud service you depend on gets canceled because maybe the bill didn’t get paid.”

The American College of Education offers online masters and doctorate degrees to teachers across the USA for $235 to $306 per credit hour. Total costs for a degree can range from $8,000 to more than $10,000, according to information on theschool’s website.

The college’s IT employees had been spread across the country, too, but the school decided early last year to give them a choice to move to Indianapolis or resign and take a severance package. Other IT workers resigned, leaving Triano Williams as the sole systems administrator when he was fired April 1 after refusing to relocate from suburban Chicago, according to the college’s lawsuit filed in Marion County Superior Court here.

Before he left, the college alleges that Williams changed the password and login information on a Google account.

In May, returning students could no longer access their email accounts, papers and other coursework. Google suspended access after too many failed login attempts to the administrative account.

School officials asked Google for help. Google refused to grant access to anyone other than Williams, who was listed as the account’s sole administrator, the college said.

When officials called Williams, he directed them to his lawyer.

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