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San Jose Programmer Pleads Guilty to Damaging Cisco's Network

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A programmer from San Jose pleaded guilty Wednesday to hacking into Cisco's network and hurting the company's operations two years ago.

Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh, 30, pleaded guilty in federal court to the charges Intentionally Accessing a Protected Computer Without Authorization and Recklessly Causing Damage, which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The incident occurred in September of 2018. Ramesh, a former Cisco employee, resigned from his position that April. According to prosecutors, Ramesh admitted that on Sept. 24, he logged onto Cisco's servers and deployed a code from his "Google Cloud Project account that resulted in the deletion of 456 virtual machines for Cisco's WebEx Teams application." The machines provided video meetings, video messaging, file sharing, and other collaboration tools.

Ramesh's code reportedly shut down 16,000 WebEx Teams accounts for two weeks. Prosecutors estimate that Cisco spent about $1,400,000 in labor to repair the damage to the application and refunded over $1,000,000 to affected customers.

"He further admitted that he acted recklessly in deploying the code, and consciously disregarded the substantial risk that his conduct could harm to Cisco," prosecutors stated in a press release. 

The U.S. District Court scheduled Ramesh's sentencing for Dec. 9 of this year, to be ruled on by Judge Lucy H. Koh.

United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John L. Bennett announced the plea from Ramesh. The prosecutors were Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Knight, with the assistance of Elise Etter. 

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