The mighty Central Intelligence Service (CIA) is a civilian organisation tasked by the American Government to gather information and analysing it concerning national security information from around the world. This is probably one of the reasons that it was unaware that some clever hackers, working for one of the thousands of contractors that are employed within the CIA building, helped themselves to about $3,000 worth of snacks from the CIA vending machines in 2013.
The machines operate through cards, which need to be topped up with funds online, and are operated by FreedomPay. The hackers found out that by just disconnecting certain cables in the vending machines this would enable them to dispense unlimited amounts of food, even if a card had run out of money.
Well, why would anyone keep this source of free chocolate bars, crisps and other snacks to themselves, well generous to a fault they did not, they naturally told all of their friends! Rather surprisingly it took the CIA months to discover that the machines had to be filled up quite a lot and the amount of cash being received was diminishing, just like the snacks in the vending machines!
Well when the discovery was made, it turns out that the sneaky culprits were not undercover agents or veteran Al-Qaeda chasers, but contractors working in the building. The CIA officials under the Office of Inspector General (OIG) put surveillance cameras on the machines, and figured out the scam, to many it may come as a surprise that the CIA building is not covered with CCTV cameras!
The perpetrator, one of thousands of contractors in the CIA, admitted he had used his knowledge of computer networks to find out how to get a snack without going through the tiresome process of paying. Naturally his free snacks came to an abrupt end as members of the cabal were rounded up, interrogated and then escorted from the building and fired by their employers. In the report which was released this week, which is heavily redacted, the video footage recovered from the surveillance cameras captured numerous perpetrators engaged in the FreedomPay theft scheme, all of whom were readily identifiable as Agency contract personnel.