COMPUTER CRIME

Sep. 9, 2014

HERBIE SAVES THE DAY

HERBIE SAVES THE DAY
By Milton Cust
Herbert Brown sat in front of the computer trying to hide the look of disbelief on his face from his co-workers.
They were all gathered around his desk watching anxiously as he deftly clicked computer keys and scrolled down seemingly endless rolls of what looked like meaningless scribble only to click another key to make another window pop up.
The office was silent except for the hum of his computer until finally one of his “Big Bosses” spoke up.
Yeah, a chief executive officer or something like that comma Herbert realized with an amused grin on his face. He was actually paying attention to HIM, one of the lowly computer programmers in the company. It was the same head honcho who told him only a few days ago that he would never be able to head the computer department because his skills weren’t quite up to their standards. Ignoring the hurt look on his chubby face, he’d added insult to injury by callously adding that the company wanted a department head with a better personality.
But now it seemed, he was the only one that knew how to master the latest program the company had recently installed in its gigantic computer base. It had begun acting strangely earlier this morning, shortly before he had arrived at work.
When he got there, the whole place had been in an uproar. Programmer after programmer had sat down before the computer and tried to figure out what was wrong only to throw up their hands in defeat and announce to the office that it was impossible to fix it.
By the time Herbert had finished a coffee and pastry, every programmer in the office had taken a stab at repairing the balky program. Now some were urging him to take his turn.
“You have to do it, Herbie,” his fellow workers were urging him. “You’re out last hope before we call in the experts from the people who designed the program and they say it may take several days before they can send someone over here.”
“Unacceptable, impossible to wait that long,” stated one of the company big wigs who had left the comfort of the executive offices upstairs to personally oversee the problem.
“We need that program up and running NOW before we have to shut down the entire accounting department.”
At first Herbert had been so reluctant to give it a try he’d been tempted to tell them to “shove it” but after several moments of them pleading with him, he had swallowed his anger.
“Okay,” said Herbert. He plopped his bulky just ‘bulk’ down in front of the computer, saying “I’ll do my best but I won’t guarantee anything.”
That had been several hours ago and since then the entire office including some more of the big shots from upstairs had witnessed Herbert slowly begin to bring the program under control. “How’s it going”?
One of the anxious executives was questioning Herbert. However, he didn’t use his usual authoritarian voice that brooked no nonsense. Instead his tone was one of respect and almost awe as he watched his employee’s fingers race over the key board to bring up new window after new window.
Herbert felt it was almost as if the executive was afraid to anger him and make stop what he was doing and abandon the company in it’s hour of need. He felt the sense of power he now held and only grunted an unintelligible reply.
Despite the intense concentration he needed to fight his way through the balky program he was enjoying his new and important role in the office.
“Now I have their attention,” he told himself. “Maybe I can finally convince these brain dead executives that I’m much better than they think. But let them sweat,” the free part of his brain was telling him. Let them keep on thinking there’s still a huge problem “which I have almost licked.”
Yes there it was, the whole solution to the programming problem right before the entire offices’ eyes and those idiots who thought they were so good, didn’t even realize it.
“Herbert,” the worried sounding voice of one of his bosses interrupted his thoughts.
“Can you fix it?” The executive again questioned him, but oh so cautiously. It was as if he hated to disturb him.
“Yuppers, almost there. Just a few more moments and we should start to see some results,” Herbert replied. He was suddenly feeling reluctant to let go of all the attention riveted on him. After all, this was his big chance to show them all what he could do. Now, maybe he would no longer be under-paid and under-appreciated.
Speaking of money, his mind slipped back for a few minutes to relive how his poor, dear mother had died much earlier than expected. He blamed her early death on the lack of proper drugs and care which he couldn’t afford on his meager salary.
The other reason for the delay was that during the time he had complete and total access to the company accounts, he had discovered a loop hole.
There it was, sitting there as plain as day but apparently nobody but him realized the significance of his discovery so he said nothing and kept his face as expressionless as possible lest he give his knowledge away.
It was a loop hole big enough to fly a 747 through or a worm hole large enough for the Star Ship Enterprise to enter. Yeah and once entered, one could siphon off huge sums of money without anyone being the wiser. Thanks to the antics of their new program which had never worked properly since it had been installed last month, the company didn’t even know how much they had.
Now Herbert always considered himself an honest man, at least as about as honest as anybody else. He was at first prompted to shut down the now perfectly functioning program and request a private meeting with the higher ups so he could explain what he had just discovered. However, a nagging in his brain kept telling him that since no one will ever know, why not take what one can take while the taking is good. He also felt rage and anger rise within him. Lately it had been there constantly, smoldering away like a sleeping volcano that was about to erupt.
Herbert thought for a brief instant about the feelings he’d had when he’d read news stories about somebody taking guns and grenades to work one day and blowing up a place of employment, killing half the staff in the process. It was scary. He could understand what had been going in their minds and felt a lot of sympathy for them. He had once briefly considered such an act of destruction but then realize it would never happen because despite all his rage and anger problems, he was not a violent person.
He was already thinking about giving into the temptation and taking some money immediately but decided some caution was needed. If he was going to do this, it had to be done right, he reasoned.
After all, he didn’t want to get caught stealing from the company. That would mean total shame and embarrassment in front of his co-workers as well as jail time and the subsequent criminal record that would follow him for the rest of his life.
Besides stealing was, well stealing, and that was morally wrong and Herbert knew his mother wouldn’t have approved of it. Yes it was, but Herbert rationalized that it wasn’t really stealing if nobody knew that you stole anything.
All this had been running through Herbert’s mind for some time, when with a final click of a key, he announced that the problem was solved.
Herbert hadn’t done anything yet but he was thinking he might do something later. After all, he now had the company passwords. He told himself he needed some time to think everything through first. Then he would make a decision.
His work on the program had taken up most of the day so for the rest of the afternoon he politely accepted the congratulations of the office staff and the praise from executives. But of course they never even mentioned the possibility of a promotion and the pay raise that would have went with it.
Later that evening, after a supper of Chinese food picked up from the Oriental Palace around the corner from his apartment, Herbert lay back in his Lazy Boy chair and began to think about what he should do.
He looked around his shabby, messy apartment and decided it badly needed renovations and some new furniture. Or maybe he should just buy a newer, bigger one with heated underground parking.
He thought about what he had found on the company computers that would make acquiring such things relatively easy. All it would take was a couple of strokes on some computer keys and presto, just like that he could be putting thousands and thousands of dollars into his bank account.
“Wait, hold everything,” he suddenly yelled out to his silent apartment. Transferring that amount of into a personal account is just asking for trouble because soon people would be asking all kinds of questions about his sudden wealth.
Herbert mused, “If I do this I have to be smarter than that. I would have to create a bank account under an assumed name that nobody can ever know about.”
He pondered the problem for a few minutes and came to the conclusion it could be done through the internet. He pushed himself out of his comfortable chair and walked over to his computer.
While waiting the few seconds it took for the screen to come to life, he got his thoughts in order. Then with a nod he be began his search for internet banks.
Definitely the way to go, he concluded after carefully studying what his search had brought up. There was a whole raft of internet banks readily available for anybody who wished to use them.
Some were smaller and didn’t handle any huge amounts of money, but several seemed ideally suited for his purpose. After careful comparisons, Herbert chose one called Gold Traders which was located in the South Sea Islands and therefore well away from North American scrutiny. In addition, the country was known for its very lax tax laws and very discreet banking system.
He completed the registration needed for him to become a customer but he didn’t use his own name but now what, he asked himself as he sat back down in his comfy big chair.
How about how much money would he need?
Well as much as he needed to improve his present living conditions, he reasoned. Or maybe so much that he’d never have to work again.
What’s that, a million or two? Yeah, but to suddenly have that much money, the same old problem will occur. And that is everybody beginning to notice a whole bunch of some very expensive purchases suddenly being made from a “far too meager salary” and this always leads to far too many questions.
Herbert lay back in his chair, looking as if he were asleep but he wasn’t for his mind was churning and working at about 100 miles per hour. He shifted through and discarded a bunch of possible solutions until he found one he liked. With a sigh of satisfaction he opened his eyes and shouted “YES” to his empty apartment. What if he took whatever he needed to live comfortably for the rest of his life but kept working at his present job for a suitable amount of time and then just disappeared?
He could tell everyone he was taking a long vacation that he wanted for quite a while and then just never return. Another idea suddenly popped into his mind, nobody would come looking for a dead person.
He smiled to himself as he thought of all the sad people who would be at his funeral. But some, like his bitch of an ex-wife would probably attend with a smile on her face with the two kids she managed to steal from him in tow. That is, if she decided to attend at all.
He then thought that it really wouldn’t matter to him anymore because he would be officially dead, probably from some tragic fire or car accident that left his poor body so disfigured it would take something like a set of his false teeth to identify him. After all, he could always get another set of dentures with the amount of money he would have access to.
On the other hand, Herbert mused, the authorities would probably assume his death even if his body was never found due to a terrible boating accident or suicide in a very deep lake.
Okay, another obstacle over come on his way to riches. All he would have to do is decide the method of his disappearance and he could figure that out later.
Herbert lay back in his chair and closed his eyes again so his mind could go back to what he had discovered in the company computers. A moment’s thinking made him realize that the problem was costing the company a lot of money they never knew they had since the faulty program failed to show all transactions properly and thus it missed collecting money that was owed.
Herbert knew he could fix everything with a few clicks of the computer keys and if he told his bosses about it they would be so grateful to him that they would never even think to question his honesty, but they certainly wouldn’t give him the promotion he so badly wanted.
So why not tell them. Show them what’s wrong with their system and how to fix it, only don’t show them everything. Tell them just enough for them to be extremely happy with their added revenue. The rest they’ll never miss because they’ll never know about, especially after he got finished repairing the program for them.
Satisfied with his plans, Herbert went to bed but it was hours before he finally fell asleep. He kept debating with himself whether his desire to get even was justification for stealing. Also he knew he would be doing something his mother would most certainly not agree with.
When Herbert finally did fall asleep, it was almost dawn. He rushed around and managed to get to work at his usual time. Not that it mattered anymore. His mind was made up. He was going to do it. If Canada and the United States could have their Independence Days, than he was going to have one too.
After all, he told himself, as he wrestled one final time with the idea of his mother disagreeing with what he was going to do. She really is dead now and although he missed her terribly, he was still alive so maybe it was time he grew up.
After a few minutes of social chatter at the coffee machine, he strode to the elevator which would take him up several floors to where the higher echelon had their offices.
“Mr. Howard,” he told the pretty secretary who guarded the executive offices.
“Who should I say is calling?” the brunette questioned him. She looked skeptically at Herbert who she recognized as a staff member from one of the floors below her.
“Tell him it’s Herbert Brown from the computer department and that I must speak to him on a rather urgent matter.”
“Right away,” replied the secretary, a look of disbelief on her face as she hung up the phone. She was looking at Herbert with new respect as she told him “Mr. Howard can see you immediately.”
Soon they all will be, Herbert thought as he followed her down a hallway with thick, plush carpets. The walls were lined with portraits of former company presidents but Herbert didn’t bother to look at them. His mind was elsewhere.
He was too busy admiring the gentle sway of the secretary’s ass as she led him down the corridor. He was also studying her long legs which were encased in flesh colored nylons.
He was thinking that with the money he’d soon be getting, pretty young things like this one would be hanging around him like bees on a honey comb. He’d be their sugar daddy alright. He conjured up a whole bevy of bikini clad babes that would be living on the tropical island he would chose for his new home.
As the secretary ushered him into Mr. Howard’s office, Herbert gave her a smile and a wink. Just the thought of what his future life would be like was making him more and more confident.
Mr. Howard beckoned him in with a big smile. He even rose out of his chair and come out from behind his huge desk that seemed to dominate the whole room. He shook Herbert’s hand and motioned him to sit down in the chair in front of his desk.
“I sure would like to thank you again for what you did yesterday,” Mr. Howard said. “That little computer glitch practically paralysed the whole company.”
“That’s what I want to talk to you about today,” Herbert replied. “I have something very important to show you that I discovered while working on the computers.” He began to explain what he had found while Mr. Howard listened with rapt attention. His face grew redder and redder and looked more and more shocked by the second.
Before Herbert could even finish giving him the complete run down of all the problems, he had clicked on the computer that sat on the corner of his desk and was demanding that he be shown everything.
For the next hour or so, Herbert took the company executive through the entire program, pointing out how the company was losing money and how to remedy it.
“I can transfer all this missed billing into the company accounts right now for you,” Herbert said with his fingers hovering enticingly over the computer keyboard.
“By all means and the company is extremely grateful to you.” Mr. Howard told him. With a relieved smile on his face he watched his employee click the keys and then say it was done.
“How much?” he then asked Herbert who replied “2.2 million. Lucky we caught it quite quickly as a few months of this would have made it much, much worse.”
“Great,” said Mr. Howard. He rose from behind his desk and clasped Herbert’s hand with both of his. “This is surely worth a Christmas bonus but I must ask you to keep the whole matter in strictest confidence. After all, now that the problem has been resolved, there’s no need for everyone in the company to know about it.”
Herbert almost burst out laughing at the ass kissing and ass covering by the “Big Boss” as he was led toward the door. He had to fight to keep a straight look on his face when he told him it would just be their little secret.
In fact, Herbert knew the fewer the people that knew about this, the better it would be for both of them because while he had transferred the 2.2 million into the company account, he had also taken the liberty of transferring the same amount to his internet bank.