A former Cisco employee has pleaded guilty to intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization and recklessly causing damage to the technology conglomerate’s vast information network.
U.S. Attorney David Anderson and FBI Special Agent John Bennett announced the plea deal in a press release Wednesday, saying San Jose’s Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh admitted to unlawfully accessing Cisco’s Amazon-hosted cloud on Sept. 24, 2018.
Ramesh, who resigned from Cisco about five months before the incident, admitted to deploying a code from his Google Cloud. The breach resulted in the deletion of 456 virtual machines for Cisco’s WebEx Teams application, which provided myriad collaboration tools including file sharing, video messaging and video meetings.
In the plea agreement, Ramesh admitted to acting recklessly in deploying the code, and “consciously disregarded the substantial risk that his conduct could do harm to Cisco.”
Ramesh’s actions resulted in 16,000 WebEx Teams accounts being shut down, causing Cisco to spend approximately $1.4 million to restore the damage done to the application along with refunding over $1 million to affected customers.
Despite Ramesh’s conduct, authorities said no customer data was compromised.
Ramesh is currently released on bond, which was set at $50,000. Ramesh’s sentencing hearing is scheduled on Dec. 9 at the U.S. District Courthouse in San Jose. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.