Former Cisco Employee Sentenced to Prison for Webex Hack

An Indian national who moved to California on an H1-B work visa was sentenced to 24 months in prison last week for accessing and damaging Cisco’s network.

The man, Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh, 31, admitted on August 26, 2020, to intentionally accessing the network without authorization, and to causing damage to it. Ramesh is a former Cisco employee, who resigned in April 2018.

In his plea agreement, Ramesh admitted to illegally accessing Cisco cloud infrastructure hosted on Amazon Web Services.

During the unauthorized access, which took place on September 24, 2018, Ramesh installed code that eventually resulted in 456 virtual machines for Cisco’s Webex Teams application being erased.

Ramesh said the code deployment was a reckless act and admitted to consciously disregarding the substantial risk that the action would result in damage to Cisco.

Ramesh’s conduct resulted in more than 16,000 Webex Teams accounts being closed for up to two weeks. However, the action did not result in customer data being compromised.

To restore the damage, Cisco spent roughly $1.4 million in employee time and had to refund in excess of $1 million to affected customers.

On July 13, 2020, Ramesh was indicted with one count of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization and recklessly causing damage. In addition to the prison term, he was also sentenced to one year of supervised release and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.

Ramesh, who is not in custody at the moment, will begin serving the sentence on February 10, 2021, the Department of Justice announced.

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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