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Fannie Mae Logic Bomb Would Have Caused Weeklong Shutdown

Fannie Mae Logic Bomb Would Have Caused Weeklong Shutdown
Fannie Mae Logic Bomb Would Have Caused Weeklong Shutdown

Forwarded from: Jay Chandler 

By Kevin Poulsen 
Threat Level
January 29, 2009

A logic bomb allegedly planted by a former engineer at mortgage finance 
company Fannie Mae last fall would have decimated all 4,000 servers at 
the company, causing millions of dollars in damage and shutting down 
Fannie Mae for a least a week, prosecutors say.

Unix engineer Rajendrasinh Babubha Makwana, 35, was indicted (.pdf) 
Tuesday in federal court in Maryland on a single count of computer 
sabotage for allegedly writing and planting the malicious code on Oct. 
24, the day he was fired from his job. The malware had been set to 
detonate at 9:00 a.m. on Jan. 31, but was instead discovered by another 
engineer five days after it was planted, according to court records.

Makwana, an Indian national, was an employee of technology consulting 
firm OmniTech, but he worked full time on-site at Fannie Mae's massive 
data center in Urbana, Maryland, for three years.

On the afternoon of Oct. 24, he was told he was being fired because of a 
scripting error he'd made earlier in the month, but he was allowed to 
work through the end of the day, according to an FBI affidavit (.pdf) in 
the case.  "Despite Makwana's termination, Makwana's computer access was 
not immediately terminated," wrote FBI agent Jessica Nye.

Five days later, another Unix engineer at the data center discovered the 
malicious code hidden inside a legitimate script that ran automatically 
every morning at 9:00 a.m. Had it not been found, the FBI says the code 
would have executed a series of other scripts designed to block the 
company's monitoring system, disable access to the server on which it 
was running, then systematically wipe out all 4,000 Fannie Mae servers, 
overwriting all their data with zeroes.


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