Fannie Mae computer sabotage nets prison time
Dec 18, 2010 (The Frederick News-Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A U.S. district judge Friday sent a Montgomery Village man to federal prison for trying to sabotage Fannie Mae's computer network in Urbana in retaliation for being fired from his job as a computer programmer.
Judge J. Frederick Motz ordered Rajendrasinh Babubhai Makwana, 36, to spend three years, five months behind bars for computer intrusion, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein announced after the sentencing hearing in Baltimore.
After Makwana finishes his term, he will be under federal supervision for three more years.
"Computer intrusion cases are a high priority for federal law enforcement because of the potential to cause serious damage," Rosenstein said.
"Mr. Makwana was trusted with access to the computer system, and he violated that trust." During a five-day trial this fall, a jury heard testimony and evidence resulting from an FBI investigation of the transmission of malicious script to Fannie Mae's nearly 5,000 computer servers at its Urbana offices.
Employed as a contractor from 2006 until Oct. 24, 2008, Makwana was fired from his job as a Unix engineer about two weeks after he caused a serious and costly scripting error, Rosenstein said after the trial concluded.
On his last day of work, Makwana was told to turn in all of his equipment, including his laptop. Five days later, a Fannie Mae senior engineer discovered a malicious script embedded in a routine program. Federal authorities were notified, and an investigation was launched.
An analysis of the script, computer logs, Makwana's laptop and other evidence revealed that he had transmitted the malicious code on the day he was fired, and that he took steps to execute the code on Jan. 31, 2009.
The code was designed to affect the agency's network of computers and destroy all data, including financial, securities and mortgage information, Rosenstein said.
Christopher Carlos Nieto, Makwana's federal public defender, could not be reached for comment Friday.
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