Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

Fannie Mae Insider Convicted For Planting Malware

Former Unix engineer inserted malicious script designed to destroy data at the financial services firm, finds federal jury.




Slideshow: Cloud Security Pros And Cons
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday said that a federal jury has convicted Rajendrasinh Babubhai Makwana, a Maryland computer programmer, with "computer intrusion arising from the transmission of malicious script to Fannie Mae's computer servers." He faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

According to the FBI, Makwana worked as a contract Unix engineer for Fanny Mae -- aka the Federal National Mortgage Association, a federally chartered corporation that purchases mortgages -- for three years, and had access to the organization's network of almost 5,000 servers.

Trial testimony detailed how Makwana was fired on October 24, 2008, and ordered to return all Fannie Mae-issued IT equipment, including his laptop. Five days later, however, "a Fannie Mae senior engineer discovered a malicious script embedded in a routine program," said the FBI.

"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, 2008, which was intended to execute on January 31, 2009," said the FBI. "The malicious code was designed to propagate throughout the Fannie Mae network of computers and destroy all data, including financial, securities, and mortgage information."

On that day, upon trying to log in to the Fannie Mae network, users would have received a message saying only "server graveyard."

The attack is a reminder of the danger of insider attacks, and highlights how, even though the erased data would likely have been restored, the incident would still have disrupted the organization's operations.

"Even though it would be likely that the firm would have off-site backups that would not have been hit by the malware attack, it would still have been enormously disruptive for the company, at a time when confidence in the financial industry was quite rocky anyway," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Indeed, the court heard evidence that it would take a week for the company to get its systems back up and running again."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/28/2020
Stay-at-Home Orders Coincide With Massive DNS Surge
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-11844
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
There is an Incorrect Authorization vulnerability in Micro Focus Service Management Automation (SMA) product affecting version 2018.05 to 2020.02. The vulnerability could be exploited to provide unauthorized access to the Container Deployment Foundation.
CVE-2020-6937
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
A Denial of Service vulnerability in MuleSoft Mule CE/EE 3.8.x, 3.9.x, and 4.x released before April 7, 2020, could allow remote attackers to submit data which can lead to resource exhaustion.
CVE-2020-7648
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.72.2 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads for users who have access to Snyk's internal network by appending the URL with a fragment identifier and a whitelisted path e.g. `#package.json`
CVE-2020-7650
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker after 4.72.0 including and before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads to users with access to Snyk's internal network of any files ending in the following extensions: yaml, yml or json.
CVE-2020-7654
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Information Exposure. It logs private keys if logging level is set to DEBUG.