Former Cisco employee pleads guilty to hacking, damaging company systems

Pierluigi Paganini August 28, 2020

A former Cisco employee has pleaded guilty to hacking charges and intentionally causing damage to the systems of his company.

The former Cisco employee Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh (30) pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose today to intentionally accessing a protected computer of his company without authorization and causing damage.

The news was announced by United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John L. Bennett. 

Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh worked for Cisco until April 2018, a few months after he resigned from the tech giant, he accessed without authorization to Cisco’s AWS cloud infrastructure and deployed code from his Google Cloud Project account that deleted over 450 virtual machines associated with the Cisco Webex Teams application.

“During his unauthorized access, Ramesh admitted that he deployed a code from his Google Cloud Project account that resulted in the deletion of 456 virtual machines for Cisco’s WebEx Teams application, which provided video meetings, video messaging, file sharing, and other collaboration tools.” reads the press release published by the DoJ. “He further admitted that he acted recklessly in deploying the code, and consciously disregarded the substantial risk that his conduct could harm to Cisco.”

The Ramesh’s sabotage caused the shut down of over 16,000 WebEx Teams accounts for up to two weeks. Cisco spent roughly $1,400,000 in employee time to restore the damage to the application and refunded over $1,000,000 to the impacted customers. The good news is that customer data was compromised as a result of Ramesh’s conduct.

At the time it is not clear which is the motivation of the defendant’s conduct.

Ramesh is currently released on bond, the bail was set at $50,000, his sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 9, 2020,

Ramesh is an Indian nation and is in the United States on an H1-B work visa. If condemned, he could be deported as a result of his actions.

According to court documents, Ramesh’s former employer, the online personal styling service Stitch Fix, “is willing to work with him regarding the possibility of his remaining in the country and continuing to work for the company.”

 Sudhish Ramesh no longer works at Stitch Fix.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, hacking)

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