Man pleads guilty to sending malware to Durham company

Posted August 31, 2015 2:01 p.m. EDT

Computer generic, typing generic, online generic, Internet generic

— A New Jersey man pleaded guilty Monday to sending malicious computer code to a Durham company where he used to work, authorities said.

Nikhil Nilesh Shah, 33, of Union, N.J., pleaded guilty to one felony count of causing intentional damage to a protected computer. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in December.

Shah was an information technology manager at Durham-based Smart Online Inc., which develops platforms for the creation of mobile applications, from 2007 to 2012. Prosecutors said that, after he left for another company, he sent the malicious code to Smart Online’s servers in Durham and Raleigh, deleting much of the company's intellectual property.

According to court documents, the malware caused Smart Online to lose between $250,000 and $500,000. As part of his plea agreement, Shah will be required to make restitution to the company.