Who Watches the Watchmen? An engineer from Beijing has been arrested after allegedly discovering a failed hacking attempt to his company and taking advantage of the situation to steal some of the money for himself. 90% of the loot has been returned but he can still go to jail for as much as seven years.
An Inside Job
Zhong Mo, a tech company employee, allegedly used his position to steal 100 bitcoins from his employer. The Haidian police recently confirmed his arrest for the crime of illegally acquiring computer information. Haidian is the area where most universities are located in Beijing and contains the Zhongguancun electronics district where many tech companies have their Chinese headquarters, locally known as “China’s Silicon Valley.”
The prosecutors of the Science and Technology Criminal Investigation Department of Haidian investigated the case and found that the accused was an operation and maintenance engineer of a technology company. The claims are that during a routine maintenance of the company’s server, he found out that someone tried to steal the company’s cryptocurrency by hacking, but failed. After eliminating the abnormal interference, the engineer used his administrator’s authority to log in to the server himself and insert a piece of code to transfer 100 bitcoins from the company’s holdings to his own account registered on a website outside China. He also tried to eliminate traces of the act, taking steps to avoid tracking.
The Thief Falls Victim to Another Crime
After losing 10 bitcoins to a phishing scam and apparently getting cold feet, the employee returned the remaining 90 bitcoins to the company. According to the exchange rate at the time of the incident, September 16, 2017, 100 bitcoins were worth about $380,000. Local reports claim that this is the first case of bitcoin theft handled by the police in Beijing.
The prosecutor in the case said that according to China’s Criminal Law, violating state regulations regarding data stored in a computer system, the employee can be sentenced to imprisonment of no more than three years, but if the circumstances are found to be particularly serious he can face up to seven years in prison, plus a fine.
Earlier in 2017 another Chinese citizen was arrested for stealing bitcoins. The programmer was arrested in Shanghai for an alleged theft of ￥20 million (about $3 million).
How should companies guard against employees taking advantage of access to their bitcoin wallets? Tell us in the comments section below.
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