Monday 01/21/13

Human Interest News   —   Posted on January 21, 2013

Cat caught smuggling saws and drills into Brazil prison

Convicts had apparently trained a cat to deliver mobile phones and tools that could help them dig a tunnel out of the Arapiraca prison in north eastern Brazil.  The feline was found with several saws and drills taped to its body.

The cat had attracted the attention of prison guards because of its frequent trips to and from the jail.

Upon closer inspection they found blades and a drill attached to the cat’s stomach.

“An agent saw the cat and went to look at it closely because something about it seemed wrong,” Marcelo Avelino, head of the prison guards’ union told the O Globo newspaper.

“We were very surprised by this new tactic of the prisoners.”

The cat has not divulged which of the prison’s 263 inmates it was attempting to break out.

Robbers mistakenly break into KFC, expecting a jewelry store

Somebody took a wrong turn at the deep fryer. A pair of crooks in Australia found themselves in an unusual spot when they attempted to tunnel into a jewelry store but ended up in a KFC restaurant on New Year’s Eve.

The mishap took place near Brisbane, Australia. Fortunately nobody was hurt. When they saw where they were, the two alleged thieves, Peter Welsh and Dwayne Doolan, decided to hold up the customers. They left with about $2,700. But they didn’t escape for long. Welsh and Doolan were arrested a short time later.

According to a report from Australia’s Sky News, the pair “smashed their way through a wall in a communal toilet block tunnel, hoping to enter Wrights Jewellers.” Instead, they found themselves in a land of herbs and spices. This was not their first attempt to break into the jewelry store. Before the KFC fiasco, the pair mistakenly broke into an Animal Welfare League Opportunity Shop, where they stole about $50 from a charity plate.

Earlier that evening, Welsh and Doolan also threw spark plugs at the window of the jewelry store, thinking they might break the glass. Alas, it was not their night.

When police confronted Welsh, he made a “full and frank” admission. He is charged with armed robbery, stealing, burglary and attempted burglary (that would be the jewelry store). Doolan, his partner in crime, was charted with robbery and stealing.

Man reportedly outsources his own job to China, watches cat videos

image621It’s a worst-case scenario for most employees: There’s someone in China who can do your job quickly, efficiently and for about one-fifth of your salary, and your boss absolutely loves his work.

But one U.S. software developer turned this nightmare on its head and actually benefited from outsourcing, a report says. That’s because, unbeknownst to his bosses, he hired a Chinese developer to do his job, allowing him to take home impeccable performance reviews while actually spending the day watching cat videos and shopping on EBay.

According to Andrew Valentine, who works on the Verizon Risk Team investigating data breaches, the employee, who Valentine calls Bob, had pulled off the stunt for some time, allowing him to relax and earn a good salary while someone in China did his job for him.

Valentine was hired to investigate when the company, a Verizon client, saw that someone from Shenyang, China, was logging in to its computer network during every workday. The breach was traced to Bob’s VPN network, but he had to be innocent, the victim of some kind of breach, the company figured. But when Valentine’s staff looked more closely at Bob’s computer, they ultimately found the smoking gun.

Bob had PDFs of hundreds of invoices from a third-party contractor in Shenyang for developer services. Bob had been paying the contractor $50,000 a year, while he himself made hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While the developer was working 9-to-5, Bob surfed the Web. At 9, he’d roll in and surf Reddit, watching cat videos. At 11:30 he’d grab some lunch. After lunch it was time for EBay for about an hour, when Bob migrated to Facebook. At 4:30, he’d email management, telling them what he had “done” during the day, and at 5, he’d go home.

“Evidence even suggested he had the same scam going across multiple companies in the area. All told, it looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about fifty grand annually,” Valentine writes.

Verizon spokeswoman Janet Brumfield confirms the story.

Valentine says it would be easy for other companies to ensure their employes aren’t outsourcing their own jobs to China.

“Organizations need to routinely and aggressively monitor their security logs,” Valentine said. “This could have been prevented if the organization had simply bothered to look.”

Less than 1% of data breaches are discovered by looking into security logs, he said, but 86% of the time, information about breaches can be discovered in those logs.

Suffice it to say, Bob is no longer working for the company. It’s possible that he is missed, though. His performance reviews were impeccable, and his company considered him the best developer in the building.

From London’s Daily Telegraph, Yahoo News and the Los Angeles Times.