NEWARK, NJ (Essex County) – A Morris County man was sentenced Tuesday to 94 months in prison for perpetrating a sophisticated computer hacking scheme that targeted two New Jersey companies, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Ankur Agarwal, 45, of Montville, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to two counts of obtaining information from computers and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, beginning in February 2017, Agarwal admitted that he physically trespassed onto a company’s premises in New Jersey (Company One). Agarwal illegally installed hardware key-logger devices onto Company One’s computers. The key-logger devices covertly recorded the keystrokes of the company’s employees and gave Agarwal their usernames and passwords. Agarwal also surreptitiously installed his personal computer and a hard drive onto the company’s computer network. Using the fraudulently obtained logon credentials of company employees, Agarwal hacked into the company’s computer network and targeted various employees, including employees developing an emerging technology. Agarwal admitted that he stole, transferred, and exfiltrated Company One’s data and information, including its emerging technology. Agarwal also created a malicious computer code designed to exfiltrate data, installed it on the company’s computer systems, and executed the code to steal and transfer data to himself.
Agarwal also admitted that he hacked into, targeted, and stole data and information from a second company in New Jersey (Company Two). Using the same general scheme, Agarwal physically trespassed onto Company Two’s premises, illegally installed hardware key-logger devices onto the company’s computers, installed his personal computer and a hard drive onto the company’s computer network, and stole, transferred, and exfiltrated Company Two’s data and information, including an emerging technology that Company Two was developing.
In furtherance of his hacking scheme against Company Two, Agarwal also obtained unauthorized access into an employee’s computer system and then fraudulently created an access badge for himself. This fraudulently obtained access badge, bearing another individual’s name, allowed Agarwal to physically trespass onto Company Two’s premises.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Wigenton sentenced Agarwal to three years of supervised release and fined him $25,000.