Ex-Cisco Employee Pleads Guilty to Damaging Company’s Network

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.

3 Comments

  1. > Ex-Cisco Employee Pleads Guilty to Damaging Company’s Network

    So, did Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh just decide to delete 456 virtual machines and cause $2.4 million in damage because he was bored and there were no cricket matches on TV?

    There seems to be no mention of a motive in this account.

    Did Emanuel Lee realize that he did not include any mention of a motive in his story? Isn’t describing a motive something they encourage writers to do in journalism school?

  2. When a person pleads guilty to a crime they do not have to offer a motive. They only have to admit that they committed the offense as charged.

    The reporter is free to ask Ramesh or his attorney but I doubt they would find any benefit in assuaging your curiosity. Cisco would probably feel the same way since their apparently lax security policies presumably contributed.

  3. > When a person pleads guilty to a crime they do not have to offer a motive. They only have to admit that they committed the offense as charged.

    As a scientifically trained person, when I see something curious, I like to know why it happened.

    If you understand why something happened, it will help you understand if it can happen again.

    Science is all about predictable and repeatable phenomena.