Ex-Cisco engineer charged with wiping Webex Teams accounts

Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh has pleaded guilty to accessing Cisco's cloud infrastructure and deploying code that deleted 456 VMs

The Cisco Webex as seen on a computer display with the webcam light activated

A former Cisco employee has pleaded guilty to damaging Cisco’s internal network in an incident during 2018, leading to the deletion of 16,000 Webex Teams accounts belonging to company employees.

Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh was charged with intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorisation and recklessly causing damage after he accessed Cisco’s cloud infrastructure and deleted 456 virtual machines (VMs).

Several months after resigning from the company in April 2018, he concsiously deployed a piece of code from his Google Cloud Project that destroyed these VMs in Cisco’s cloud infrastructure, hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS)

These VMs hosted Cisco’ Webex Teams application, which meant that more than 16,000 employees lost access to video conferencing, video messaging, file sharing and other collaboration tools, as their accounts were wiped.

This shutdown lasted two weeks and caused Cisco to spend around $1.4 million in time to restore the damage, as well as more than $1 million in refunds to consumers. No customer data was compromised as a result of these actions, according to the US Attorney’s Office fo the Northern District of California.

“Cisco addressed the issue in September 2018 as quickly as possible, ensured no customer information was lost or compromised, and implemented additional safeguards,” a Cisco spokesperson told IT Pro

“We brought this issue directly to law enforcement and appreciate their partnership in bringing this person to justice. We are confident processes are in place to prevent a recurrence.”

Ramesh was charged on 13 July and pled guilty to the single count, admitting that he acted recklessly in deploying the code, and consciously disregarded the substantial risk of his actions harming Cisco. His hearing is scheduled for 9 December 2020. 

The maximum penalty for committing such an offence is five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, although Ramesh’s guilty plea is likely to mean the final sentence is much softer than this.

Featured Resources

Shining light on new 'cool' cloud technologies and their drawbacks

IONOS Cloud Up! Summit, Cloud Technology Session with Russell Barley

Watch now

Build mobile and web apps faster

Three proven tips to accelerate modern app development

Free download

Reduce the carbon footprint of IT operations up to 88%

A carbon reduction opportunity

Free Download

Comparing serverless and server-based technologies

Determining the total cost of ownership

Free download

Recommended

The IT Pro Podcast: Can 5G close the digital divide?
5G

The IT Pro Podcast: Can 5G close the digital divide?

6 Aug 2021
Cisco launches Webex for Defense for the Pentagon
Software

Cisco launches Webex for Defense for the Pentagon

7 Jul 2021
Cisco flaw under attack after researchers publish exploit PoC
exploits

Cisco flaw under attack after researchers publish exploit PoC

28 Jun 2021
Cisco bolsters Webex for the hybrid workforce
video conferencing

Cisco bolsters Webex for the hybrid workforce

9 Jun 2021

Most Popular

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD
Microsoft Windows

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD

24 Nov 2021
What should you really be asking about your remote access software?
Sponsored

What should you really be asking about your remote access software?

17 Nov 2021
Best MDM solutions 2020
mobile device management (MDM)

Best MDM solutions 2020

12 Nov 2021