Upset after being fired, Indian techie in Singapore hacks former company’s system, causing SGD 918K loss

The hacker accessed the NCS system and ran a computer script that would delete 180 virtual servers. Representative image courtesy: Pixabay/geralt

An Indian techie named Kandula Nagaraju, 39, has been sentenced to prison by a Singapore court after he hacked into his former employer company’s system and caused losses amounting to SGD 918,000. He did this because he was very upset after being fired by the company.

Reporting on the matter, the Singapore-based news outlet CNA said that Nagaraju had hacked into the ex-employer’s computer systems and deleted 180 virtual servers. On Monday, he was sentenced to 2 years and 8 months in prison for unauthorised access to computer material.

The convicted techie used to work with the digital and tech services company NCS, which terminated his contract in October 2022. His last day at work was November 16, 2022.

While the reason cited for the contract termination was poor work performance, Nagaraju felt “confused and upset” because he believed that he had made “good contributions” to NCS.

Unable to find another job immediately in Singapore, he returned to India. For a few months, he stayed in India, during which time — in January 2023 — he began to hack into the NCS computer system using his personal laptop. He was particularly targeting 180 virtual servers, which he had access to while he worked with NCS. These virtual servers were used by NCS for quality-testing new software and programs before launch, as part of its services.

Even after he returned to Singapore in February 2023 with a new job, Nagaraju continued accessing the NCS system; he became an NCS employee’s roommate and shared a Wi-Fi network.

In March 2023, he accessed the NCS system, and ran a computer script that would delete the 180 virtual servers.

The company failed to troubleshoot, and suspected some kind of sabotage. In April 2023, the company took the case to the Singapore Police Force. Through its own investigations, NCS had found some suspicious IP addresses, which were handed over to the police.

Soon enough, the probe led the police to Nagaraju, and his laptop had all the evidence of unauthorised accessing of the NCS system and the server deletion script. The exact amount of losses suffered by NCS because of Nagaraju’s hacking and server deletion was SGD 917,832.