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IT worker indicted for creating malware ‘timebomb’

Karl Flinders

A former software engineer at troubled mortgage firm Fannie Mae has been accused of hiding malware on the company's network which could have caused millions of dollars of damage.

According to court documents,the malicious scriptwould have affected 4,000 servers andcould have shut operations at Fannie Mae for at least a week.

Rajendrasinh Makwana, who was fired by the firm in October, was indicted on computer intrusion charges and is accused of planting the malicious code to go live on January 31.

According to the prosecution case, anyone trying to log in to the network after that day would have received a message saying "server Graveyard".

FBI agent Jessica Nye said in a statement that Makwana had worked at Fannie Mae for three years as a computer engineer at its officesin Urbana,where he had full access to all of the federally created mortgage company's 4,000 servers.

"Had this malicious script executed, engineers expect it would have caused millions of dollars of damage andreduced, if not shutdown, operations at the firmfor at least one week. If this script wereexecuted, the total damage would include cleaning out and restoring all 4,000 servers, restoring and securing the automation of mortgages, and restoring all data thatwas erased."

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said this should serve as a timely reminder to all companies as to what they should be prepared for. "Implementing a combination of robust user policies and security measures is crucial in order to safeguard their IT networks -and ultimately their business -against such incidents."

"As the credit crunch forces companies to tighten their belts around the world, more and more firms will be making the difficult decision to make staff redundant. But it's important to remember that a disaffected employee could create havoc inside your organisation," he added.

Recession means businesses face greater security threat, says McAfee >>


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