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Indian National on H-1B Visa Pleads Guilty to Damaging Cisco System’s Network

Indian National on H-1B Visa Pleads Guilty to Damaging Cisco System’s Network

  • Court records says unauthorized access led to deletion of 16,000 WebEx teams accounts in 2018.

A former Cisco employee has pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose to intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization and recklessly causing damage, according to a Department of Justice press release. Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh admitted to intentionally accessing Cisco Systems’ cloud infrastructure that was hosted by Amazon Web Services without Cisco’s permission on Sept. 24, 2018.  Ramesh worked for Cisco and resigned in April 2018.  

Immigration Reform says Ramesh, 30, of San Jose, California, is an Indian national who is in the United States on an H-1B visa and has a green card application pending.

After Cisco, Ramesh was working with the San Francisco-based online personal styling service Stitch Fix. A company spokesperson told Immigration Reform that “Sudhish Ramesh no longer works at Stitch Fix” since he pleaded guilty. California law allows a company to terminate an employee who has been found or plead guilty, but not solely because charges have been filed.

According to the guilty plea he entered in federal court on Aug. 26, Ramesh deployed a code from his Google Cloud Project account that resulted in the deletion of 456 virtual machines for Cisco’s WebEx Teams application. This application provided video meetings, video messaging, file sharing, and other collaboration tools. He further admitted that he acted recklessly in deploying the code, and consciously disregarded the substantial risk that his conduct could harm to Cisco. 

“As a result of Ramesh’s conduct, over 16,000 WebEx Teams accounts were shut down for up to two weeks, and caused Cisco to spend approximately $1,400,000 in employee time to restore the damage to the application and refund over $1,000,000 to affected customers,” the DOJ press release said, adding that “no customer data was compromised” as a result of Ramesh’s conduct.

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Ramesh was charged with one count of Intentionally Accessing a Protected Computer Without Authorization and Recklessly Causing Damage. Under the plea agreement, Ramesh pled guilty to the sole count of the Information. He is currently released on bond. Bail was set at $50,000. 

Sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 9.

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