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Former Cisco Engineer Sentenced For Deleting 16,000 WebEx Accounts

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Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh, an ex-Cisco engineer, has been sentenced to 24 months in prison for accessing Cisco’s servers without authorization.

Ramesh was also ordered to pay a fine of $15,000 for shutting down more than 16,000 WebEx Teams accounts, and over 450 virtual machines in 2018.

According to the plea agreement filed in July 2020, Ramesh accessed Cisco’s cloud infrastructure hosted on Amazon Web Services, without permission, on September 24, 2018, after resigning from the company months earlier.

The 31 year old, who left the company in April, 2018 – five months before the incident, destroyed servers that hosted infrastructure for the Cisco WebEx Teams service in the process.

During his unauthorized access, 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 provides video meetings, video messaging, file sharing, and other collaboration tools,” the Department of Justice said in a press release.

As a result of his actions, more than 16,000 WebEx Teams accounts was shut down for two weeks.

As a result of the damage, Cisco said it ended up spending $2.4 million to cover customer refunds and time spent by employees to restore service back to normal.

Although, Ramesh apologized for his actions, the former Cisco engineer did not explained the motive behind him deleting Cisco’s servers.

Ramesh is currently out of custody, and expected to begin his sentence in February, 2021.

Although, he has a green card application pending, as well as an H1 visa, Ramesh also faces deportation to his native country of India following his sentence.

Cisco said that the incident did not expose any of its customers’ data, and service was restored to every affected customer as soon as the issue was fixed.

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