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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

San Jose Man Sentenced To Two Years Imprisonment For Damaging Cisco’s Network

Intrusion Resulted in Deletion of 16,000 WebEx Teams Accounts in Fall 2018

SAN JOSE – Sudhish Kasaba Ramesh was sentenced today to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine for intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization and recklessly causing damage, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair.  The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Lucy H. Koh, U.S. District Judge.

Ramesh, 31, of San Jose, pleaded guilty on August 26, 2020, to one count of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization and recklessly causing damage to Cisco.  Ramesh worked for Cisco but resigned in approximately April 2018.  According to the plea agreement, Ramesh admitted to intentionally accessing the Cisco Systems cloud infrastructure that was hosted by Amazon Web Services without Cisco’s permission on September 24, 2018.  Ramesh further admitted that 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.  He admitted that he acted recklessly in deploying the code and consciously disregarded the substantial risk that his conduct would harm 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.  No customer data was compromised as a result of the defendant’s conduct.

Ramesh was charged by an information on July 13, 2020, with one count of  Intentionally Accessing a Protected Computer Without Authorization and Recklessly Causing Damage, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(5)(B) and (c)(4)(A)(i)(I).

U.S. District Judge Koh sentenced Ramesh today, following his guilty plea on August 26, 2020, to one count of Intentionally Accessing a Protected Computer Without Authorization and Recklessly Causing Damage, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(5)(B) and (c)(4)(A)(i)(I).  The defendant was further sentenced to serve a one year period of supervised release following the 24 months in prison and to pay a $15,000 fine.  The defendant is out of custody and will begin serving the sentence on February 10, 2021.

Susan Knight is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elise Etter.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Cisco Systems, Inc. fully cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated December 9, 2020