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The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California Aug. 26 announced that Indian American Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose to intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization and recklessly causing damage.

United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John L. Bennett announced the guilty plea.

According to the plea agreement, Ramesh admitted to intentionally accessing Cisco Systems’ cloud infrastructure that was hosted by Amazon Web Services without Cisco’s permission on Sept. 24, 2018, the attorney’s office news release said.

Ramesh worked for Cisco and resigned in approximately April 2018. During his unauthorized access, Ramesh admitted that 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 provided video meetings, video messaging, file sharing, and other collaboration tools, it said.

He further admitted that he acted recklessly in deploying the code, and consciously disregarded the substantial risk that his conduct could harm to Cisco. As a result of Ramesh’s conduct, over 16,000 WebEx Teams accounts were shut down for up to two weeks, and caused Cisco to spend approximately $1,400,000 in employee time to restore the damage to the application and refund over $1,000,000 to affected customers, according to the news release.

No customer data was compromised as a result of the defendant’s conduct, it said.

Ramesh, 30, of San Jose, was charged on July 13, 2020.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 9, 2020, before U.S. District Court Judge Lucy H. Koh.

The maximum statutory penalty for the offense is 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

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