SAIC employee who exposed alleged cheating at ethical hacking test said he was demoted at work

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Ted Carrier, the SAIC employees who accused the cyber defense contractor to the U.S. Central Command of giving their employees “undue help” to “cheat” in the ethical hacking certification examination required by the Justice Department said that the firm is lying by saying that they did not have any correspondence with the third-party administrator of the test.

In fact, the test administrator is a SAIC employee and the same person who gave the employees the “study guide” for the next day’s exam, said Carrier in a comment shared to Z6Mag.

Two days ago, Z6Mag published that some of the cyber defense analysts that was contracted by the U.S. Central Command may have cheated in the ethical hacker certification test they took to renew the contract of the company with the CENTCOM.

The Justice Department requires cyber analysts who work for government agencies to be certified as “ethical hackers,” in order to make sure that the contractors remain ethical and would not use their hacking abilities to divulge state secrets, illegally penetrate systems, and smuggle malicious software in government networks.

However, Ted Carrier, along with other cyber defense analysts employed by SAIC as contractors for CENTCOM, revealed to an investigation conducted by a television network, FOX 13, that they were given by the company a soft copy of questions that were given during the test, essentially cheating their way to the certification.

“So we reviewed the questions and answers, thinking it was something similar to what we’d see. But the next morning we realized that it was exactly the same questions and same answers as the actual test,” Carrier said.

As a response, SAIC said that they had investigated the allegations thrown at their firm and determined that the claims have no basis and denied any wrongdoing.

“Our internal investigation concluded, and according to our findings, there was no misconduct, and the allegations were not credible. SAIC is a respected leader in our industry, and this alleged misconduct does not reflect our core values and culture of integrity. We take every ethics complaint seriously and ensure that all are investigated thoroughly,” they said in a statement.

“Our investigation determined that employees had access to practice exam questions to prepare for the C/EH exam. These practice exams were through a test preparation vendor and are available for download online. Access to that information is not unethical. The exam on test day was administered by a third-party testing vendor and was taken in person at a government facility, and on a computer.”

Intimidation works

However, amidst the claims of SAIC, Carrier believes that the cybersecurity contractor is lying. He said that the “proctor of the test was a SAIC employee, who was also the person who gave us the “study guide” the previous day! He also kept reminding people to slow down, so it didn’t seem as if we already knew the answers.”

Furthermore, Carrier slammed the claims of SAIC that there is no anti-retaliation policy implemented in the company. This means that whenever an employee reveals something bad about the company, they shouldn’t be fired nor demoted.

But Carrier said that he was demoted because he granted the interview with FOX 13. “I, for one, was demoted as soon as I complained, and soon after was told that I was getting a $25,000 pay cut,” he told Z6Mag.

Employees were scared to come forward after they saw him being demoted, Carrier said. He claimed that others are scared of losing their jobs if they speak up against the company.

“After this, it was very tough to find even four others who were willing to be interviewed since others were in fear of losing their jobs/careers.”

“SAIC proved that intimidation works,” he added.

The employee further said that the Tampa branch of SAIC is “corrupt and inept.” He slammed the “pathetic” investigation conducted by the company because “couldn’t even be bothered to send someone down from their headquarters (Washington D.C.) to investigate.”

Aside from throwing blows against SAIC, Carrier also told Z6Mag that the investigation conducted by CENTCOM, which later said that they found nothing “substantive” in the claims of some employees, was done in improperly. He said that people who were sent to investigate the matter only talked to high-level management.

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