The China Mid Autumn festival has started and the festival organizers decided to announce the start by runaway inflatable balloon. The festival is celebrated annually on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Han calendar, the date which closely corresponds to the full moon closest to the equinox, which happens on autumn. To commemorate the holiday, Chinese people exchange and share moon cakes among themselves.
The cakes are mostly round pastries which are filled with either a lotus seed paste or a red seed paste. In some of the cakes, a salted yolk of a duck egg will be surrounded by a thin crust. Most businesses give out the cakes to their employees and other acquaintances, and in the days which lead up to the festival, the cakes are in high demand in China.
This high demand must have been the motivation for the four employees of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce website, who managed to exploit a weakness present on the company website which was offering some discounted cakes to the employees.
Alibaba was offering each of their employees a free moon cake which contained a rather plush Alibaba mascot inside of it, instead of the traditional yolk which is usually put inside. The employees could also get discounts for family and friends through an internal e-commerce page.
But as reported in Chinese media, the four software engineers at the company managed to insert additional software into the website, and had more mooncakes directed to themselves. Fortunately for Alibaba, their internal security team managed to detect the act and discovered that the four engineers were using a technology hack to get 124 boxes of the popular cakes. As a result, all four employees were dismissed.
One of the cake thieves confessed to the crime on the Chinese version of Quora: Zhihu. He was claiming that he had faced problems with buying the cakes on the internal website, therefore had decided to create his own plugin and get his own cakes. He said he did it because others were doing the same, and although he said that he had left after getting the cakes he wanted, the hack he created kept on working and had ordered 16 more boxes. Within two hours, the security team caught up and asked him to leave.