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Programmer faces ten years for malware timebomb

A computer programmer faces up to ten years in jail after being convicted of planting a malware 'timebomb' designed to wipe all data from servers at US financial giant Fannie Mae.

A Baltimore court found Unix engineer Rajendrasinh Babubhai Makwana, 36, guilty of uploading a malicious script designed to wipe all data from nearly 5,000 servers at the company.

Makwana was employed at mortgage outfit Fannie Mae's 247,000 square foot data centre in Urbana, Maryland from 2006 until he was sacked on October 24th, 2008.

On October 29th, a senior engineer at the company discovered malicious code embedded in a routine program. Analysis of Makwana's laptop revealed that the disgruntled contractor had - presumably by way of bidding a fond farewell to his former employer - uploaded it on the day he was fired.

The script was designed to propagate itself throughout the company's network and wipe all information from the company's servers at 9:00am on January 31st, 2009.

According to prosecutors, anyone trying to log into the company's network on that day would have received a message reading "Server Graveyard".

District Judge J Frederick Motz scheduled sentencing for December 8th. Makwana faces a maximum penalty of up to ten years behind bars.