Breaking Buried News
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) -- A fired Fannie Mae foreign contract worker, Rajendrasinh B. Makwana, pleaded not guilty last Friday to a federal charge of planting a nasty virus designed to destroy all the data on the mortgage giant's 4,000 computer servers nationwide. Had the virus been released as planned on Saturday, the Department of Justice said the disruption “could have cost millions of dollars and shut down operations for a week at Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. mortgage finance company.”
The DOJ refused to disclose the name of the contractor for whom he worked.
Rajendrasinh B. Makwana, 35, of Glen Allen, Va., pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to one count of computer intrusion, the U.S. attorney's office said. The Associated Press was unable to reach Makwana in Glen Allen, Va., a suburb of Richmond. A search of public records found no address or telephone number for him there.
Makwana is an Indian citizen who has lived in the United States since at least 2001, according to public records. He was fired Oct. 24 from his computer programming job at Fannie Mae's data center in Urbana, about 35 miles from the company's Washington headquarters. He was fired for “erroneously writing programming instructions two weeks earlier that changed the settings on the servers,” according to an FBI affidavit.
Despite the staggering security threat, slow to act Fannie Mae personnel did not immediately terminate Makwana's computer access after informing him of his termination early on the afternoon of Oct. 24, the affidavit states, before surrendering his badge and laptop computer several hours later.
The indictment accuses Makwana of
"intentionally and without authorization caused and attempted to cause damage to Fannie Mae's computer network by entering malicious code."
Makwana was arrested Jan. 7 and released on $100,000 bond Jan. 8, according to court records.