Disgruntled ex-employee jailed for wiping 180 servers at his former company

After being laid off for poor performance, an ex-employee of the IT giant NCS Group decided to seek revenge by deleting the company’s data. While the ex-staffer succeeded, the ordeal has backfired with a lengthy prison sentence.

CNA (Channel News Asia) Singapore's office reported that 39-year-old Kandula Nagaraju was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail for hacking his former employer. Nagaraju, formerly employed by NCS’s Singapore branch, reportedly deleted 180 virtual servers, inflicting $678,000 in damage on the multinational IT company.

The perpetrator was employed in the company’s quality assurance (QA) team between November 2021 and October 2022. Nagaraju’s team managed a system of 180 virtual servers, which was used to test new software before launch.

While he was let go due to poor performance, Nagaraju told the authorities he felt his performance was adequate. However, unable to find another job, he was forced to leave Singapore and return to India.

The hacking attempts took place while the accused was in his home country. He accessed NCS systems in early January. The ordeal continued after Nagaraju settled for a new job in Singapore in February 2024, CNA reported. He accessed NCS systems dozens of times, going as far as crafting a script to discover whether it was possible to destroy all 180 virtual servers.

Nagaraju succeeded in his quest in March, deleting all virtual servers. However, the company was quick to discover the IP addresses used for unauthorized access to its systems, leading to the QA specialist’s arrest and sentencing.