Fired IT employee hacks firm, deletes servers, causes $700K loss

By Minh Nga   June 15, 2024 | 08:00 pm PT
An Indian tech worker has been jailed in Singapore for hacking and deleting 180 servers at his former employer, causing nearly SGD918,000 (US$700,000) in damages.

Kandula Nagaraju, 39, was sentenced to two years and eight months' jail on June 10 for "unauthorized access to computer material."

Another charge was taken into consideration for sentencing, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported.

From November 2021 to October 2022, Nagaraju worked with a 20-person team responsible for overseeing the quality assurance computer system at NCS, a company providing information communication and technology services.

This system, which NCS described to CNA on Wednesday as a "standalone test system," was utilized for evaluating new software and programs prior to their release.

In October 2022, the company dismissed Nagaraju, citing his "poor performance."

Nagaraju, unable to find immediate employment in Singapore, returned to India. There, he accessed NCS’s system without authorization using administrator credentials. Between Jan. 6 and 17, 2023, he accessed the system six times from India, according to the news site Moneycontrol.

After landing a new job in Singapore in February 2023, Nagaraju went back to the Southeast Asian country and stayed with a former colleague from NCS. On Feb. 23, 2023, using their Wi-Fi, he logged into the system again. During this access, he tested scripts to assess the system's vulnerability to server deletion.

The company detected the issue and submitted a report to the police in April 2023. The investigation identified multiple IP addresses associated with the sabotage. Authorities confiscated Nagaraju's laptop, discovering the damaging script and evidence of Google searches about deleting virtual servers. Police determined that he caused a financial loss of SGD917,832 to NCS.

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