Fired Fannie Mae contractor tried to crash network

A former Fannie Mae contract employee has been charged with trying to sabotage the company's computer system.

A former Fannie Mae IT contractor has been charged with planting malicious software on the mortgage giant's systems on the day he lost his job last October.

Rajendrasinh Makwana, 35, who at the time was a contract employee at Fannie Mae, planted a nasty custom script designed to wipe out about 4,000 of the company's servers on Jan. 31, 2009, according to a sworn affidavit from Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Jessica Nye. Makwana was indicted Tuesday by a federal court in Maryland on a charge of computer intrusion.

The script was installed on Fannie Mae's servers less than an hour after Makwana was told that Oct. 24 would be his last day at the company, Nye said. It was discovered five days later by a Fannie Mae Unix administrator, who found it tagged on to the end of a legitimate script designed to check that the data-center's storage area network was running correctly.

"The malicious script was at the bottom of the legitimate script, separated by approximately one page of blank lines, apparently in an effort to hide the malicious script within a legitimate script. It was only by chance that [the Fannie Mae administrator] scrolled down to the bottom of the legitimate script to discover the malicious script," Nye said.

Makwana had been working as a Unix administrator at Fannie Mae's Urbana, Maryland, data center for nearly three years at the time of the incident. A Fannie Mae spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.

He had apparently been in hot water before his termination. Nye said that he was fired because two weeks before the incident he had "erroneously created a computer script that changed the settings on the Unix servers without the proper authority of his supervisor."

From Nye's account, the code was nasty. It was set to lurk silently on the computer's network until Jan. 31, 2009, when it would catalog all servers in the company's data center, reset root passwords, destroy backup software and wipe out all data on the servers, and then power them off. "Had this malicious script executed, [Fannie Mae's] engineers expect it would have caused millions of dollars of damage and reduced if not shutdown operations at [Fannie Mae] for at least one week. If this script were executed, the total damage would include cleaning out and restoring all 4,000 ... servers, restoring and securing the automation of mortgages, and restoring all data that was erased," Nye said.

Engineers attempting to log in to the servers would be denied access and simply given the message "Server Graveyard."

Makwana was arrested in Richmond, Virginia, on Jan. 7. His court-appointed attorney did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags fannie maesecurity

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?