Saturday, September 23, 2017 | Today's Vending Industry News
CIA Contract Employees Busted For Hacking Vending Machine, Stealing $3,000 In Snacks

by Staff Reporter
Posted On: 6/22/2017

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TAGS: CIA vending machine theft, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA employees busted, vending machine hacking, FreedomPay hacked, Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit

WASHINGTON -- The Central Intelligence Agency reportedly fired several contract workers for hacking a vending machine and stealing snacks worth more than $3,000.

A declassified Office of Inspector General report says the scheme involved the contractors unplugging a cable connecting the machines to the FreedomPay electronic payment system and then using "unfunded FreedomPay cards" to dispense the snacks at no cost. The report says that $3,314.40 worth of snacks was stolen. The report did not say where the machine was placed, nor did it name the operator.

The thefts began in 2012 and continued through 2013, according to the report, which was published in October 2013. It was just released as a result of a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit filed in 2015.

Once the OIG was aware of the CIA vending machine larceny, it installed surveillance cameras that captured "numerous perpetrators engaged in the FreedomPay theft scheme, all of whom were readily identifiable as Agency contract personnel," the report states.

Investigators identified one employee with knowledge of computer networks as the mastermind behind the nefarious snack feast. He admitted to successfully testing the vending hack before sharing the technique with several colleagues. Investigators also caught on video several other contract employees who admitted to participating in the thefts. All of them were fired by their contract employers.

The OIG referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia for prosecution, but the Department of Justice declined to press charges.