Federal Jury Convicts Georgia Man for Compromising U.S. Army Computer Program
GREENVILLE – John Stuart Bruce, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that on September 20, 2017 in federal court, MITTESH DAS, a 48-year-old male resident of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted following a three-day trial before Senior United States District Judge Malcom J. Howard. The jury found DAS guilty of knowingly transmitting malicious code with the intent to cause damage to a U.S. Army computer used in furtherance of national security.
A Grand Jury in the Eastern District of North Carolina indicted DAS on April 5, 2016 for conduct that occurred in 2014.
In November of 2014, a national level computer program responsible for handling pay and personnel actions for nearly 200,000 U.S. Army reservists began experiencing unusual issues. Five of the servers associated with the program are located at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Standard internal troubleshooting uncovered suspicious code that led to an investigation by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID). The investigation revealed that in 2012, due to DAS’s vast experience with the system, the contracted company responsible for oversight of the computer system had subcontracted with DAS to assume lead responsibility for the system. However, the contract was subsequently re-bid and awarded to a different company with a hand-over date of November 24, 2014. The investigation revealed that DAS inserted malicious code - commonly referred to as a “logic bomb” – in the days leading up to the contract changeover and that the progressively destructive nature of this code began taking effect the day after the changeover.
The damage had to be corrected through removal of the malicious code, restoration of all information and features, and a thorough review of the entire system to locate any further malicious code, amounting to a total labor cost to the U.S. Army of approximately $2.6 million.
“Cyber-sabotage is not a ‘prank.’ It is a very serious crime with real victims and real costs. In this case, the crime cost taxpayers $2.6 million. Thanks to great work by the investigators and prosecutor, Mr. Das is being held accountable for his criminal acts,” said John Stuart Bruce, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
"We are very pleased with today's guilty verdict and will do everything in our power to help bring to justice those who attempt to sabotage or disrupt U.S. Army operations in the defense of our nation," said Director Daniel Andrews of the Computer Crime Investigative Unit, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. "Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks they can commit a crime in cyberspace and not get caught. We have highly trained and specialized investigators who will work around the clock to uncover the truth and preserve Army readiness."
The case was investigated by U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, which received assistance from the Department of Homeland Security and the Johns Creek, Georgia, Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jason Kellhofer represented the government in this case.