FBI arrests Chinese programmer

The Untouchables have fingered the collar of a Chinese computer programmer claiming he stole  more than $10 million worth software from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Bo Zhang, 32, from New York, worked as a contract programmer at the bank and the Feds think he copied software to an external hard drive.

The software, owned by the U.S. Treasury Department, cost about $9.5 million to develop, Reuters said.

A New York Fed spokesman said in a statement that the bank immediately investigated the suspected breach when it was uncovered and promptly referred the matter to authorities.

Zhang, who is a Chinese citizen, was released on $200,000 bail after a brief court hearing.

If he is convicted he could face a decade in one of the US’s quaint prisons.

The FBI said that Zhang had admitted to copying the code onto a drive and taking it home. He told the Untouchables that he took the code “for private use and in order to ensure that it was available to him in the event that he lost his job.”

Given that he is Chinese and the US does tend to see all foreigners as terrorists or spies, particularly at airports, there is an assumption that Zhang works for  Chinese intelligence.

Insecurity experts said that it is more likely that it was a case of simple theft. If he was a Chinese spook they would never have given him bail and might have given him a waterboarding holiday at multiple venues across Europe.

Zhang was hired as a contract employee in May by an unnamed technology consulting company used by the Fed to work on its computers. The software was called the Government-wide Accounting and Reporting Program (GWA), and was developed to help track the billions of dollars the United States government transfers daily.

The breach was discovered when one of Zhang’s colleagues told a supervisor that he had claimed to have lost a hard drive containing the code.