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A programmer exploits a bizarre ATM loophole to withdraw $1 million in cash

siliconreview A programmer exploits a bizarre ATM loophole to withdraw $1 million in cash

The South China Morning Post and China’s Daily Economic News reported that a Huaxia Bank employee managed to withdraw over 7 million Yuan, (equivalent to around $1 million US dollars). 43-year old Qin Qisheng did this all by exploiting a bizarre loophole in the ATM program.

This sounds like something straight out of a crime/thriller film. However, ATM spitting free money, in reality,is as crazy as it sounds. As per the reports, the bank’s system didn’t record withdrawals made around midnight. This allowed free cash to spit out from the machine without removing the total from a user’s account. Normally, it might send a flag that the transaction has failed but reportedly, Qisheng, who is a programmer by profession inserted scripts into the system that disabled those alerts.  Qisheng started doing this in November 2016, but it wasn’t discovered until January 2018. Some 1,358 withdrawals later, the bank realized that it is happening due to the bad code in its system and brought the tech-savvy thief to the authorities.

What might sound surprising is that bank, scared of the bad publicity, has asked the police to drop the case. The banking firm didn’t want to keep pressing charges once he had returned all the money. Reportedly, they accepted Qisheng’s explanation that he was not stealing, rather testing the bank’s security and had kept the money safe to be reclaimed by the bank. However, the plea has been rejected by the court and Qisheng is now looking at 10 and half years in prison. They didn’t buy his argument considering he wouldn’t have deposited the money in his personal account if his intention was not stealing.