Ex-Fannie Mae Contractor Convicted

Disgruntled Programmer Faces 10-Year Sentence
Ex-Fannie Mae Contractor Convicted
A federal jury in Maryland has convicted a disgruntled software programmer for planting a virus on mortgage giant Fannie Mae's servers in late 2008.

Rajendrasinh Babubhai Makwana, 36, of Montgomery County, Md., was charged with computer intrusion after inserting malicious script to Fannie Mae's computer servers.

Had the malware not been discovered shortly after the programmer's termination, it could have shut down Fannie's systems completely for a week or more and would have cost millions to repair and restore data on the firm's nearly 5,000 computer servers.

Makwana, an Indian citizen, had worked as a software engineer at Fannie Mae's offices in Urbana, Md., since 2006 and for three years was given access to all of the firm's servers.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Makwana was fired on October 24, 2008 and told to turn in all of his Fannie Mae equipment, including his laptop. On October 29, a Fannie Mae senior engineer discovered a malicious script embedded in a routine program. A subsequent analysis of the script, computer logs, Makwana's laptop and other evidence revealed that Makwana had transmitted the malicious code on October 24, and it was intended to execute on January 31, 2009.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation agent investigating the case says Makwana allegedly embedded the destructive code, designed to wipe out all data across the network by overwriting the data with zeroes. FBI agent Jessica Nye says in a sworn statement that anyone who would have tried to log onto the network after that time would receive the message "Server Graveyard."

After being told he was terminated, Makwana hid a code in server software. "Had this malicious script executed, engineers expect it would have caused millions of dollars of damage and reduced if not shutdown operations at for at least one week," Nye states. "The total damage would include cleaning out and restoring all 4,000 of Fannie Mae's servers, restoring and securing the automation of mortgages, and restoring all data that was erased."

Makwana faces 10 years in prison at his sentencing on Dec. 8.

About the Author

Linda McGlasson

Linda McGlasson

Managing Editor

Linda McGlasson is a seasoned writer and editor with 20 years of experience in writing for corporations, business publications and newspapers. She has worked in the Financial Services industry for more than 12 years. Most recently Linda headed information security awareness and training and the Computer Incident Response Team for Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC), a subsidiary of the NYSE Group (NYX). As part of her role she developed infosec policy, developed new awareness testing and led the company's incident response team. In the last two years she's been involved with the Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), editing its quarterly member newsletter and identifying speakers for member meetings.

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