South African Engineers expose Discovery Vitality cheaters
When you say the words “cheating” and “hack” Ashley Madison immediately comes to mind. But in South Africa, a different type of cheating is happening and a group of student managed to expose it.
In South Africa, being part of Discovery Medical Aid means that you are rewarded for being healthy. Members are rewarded with points for visiting the doctor regularly for a check-up and eating healthily with the theory that if members look after themselves, the Medial Aid will have less to pay in medical bills.
One of the ways to earn these points is via working out at the gym. But working out takes time and requires to actually break-a-sweat. Members also have to commit to attend the gym with a minimum number of sessions per month or pay a higher membership rate. Therefore, sneaky members have figured out that as long as they swipe their card to access the gym, the session is registered and they earn the points without actually working out. In Other words, defeating the system.
To combat this a group of five guys Kyle Welsh, Micheal Brooke, Ross Guy, Wald Bezuidenhout, Waseem Nabi, had worked out a way to better monitor the system for Discovery:
This system was revealed at the Discovery GrandHack Hackathon held at the JoziHub from 27th to 29th of July 2015 where the 5 third-year software engineering students from the University of Johannesburg, demonstrated their ability to design an entire system in 48 hours which solves a real issue.
The system consists of an NFC system which is scanned by the mobile phone as each machine is used. The system counts number of reps, kilometres walked and other relevant information. The team even managed to link the system to the FitBit heart rate system to log the heart rate. This information is sent back to the medical aid who can reward members who actually worked out.
“The students had previously mastered all the technology they needed on their own,” says a lecturer from the UJ Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering (ACSSE).
The university has an impressive record churning out winners as UJ ACSSE students have won the national finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup four times in the past six years, as well as the Discovery GradHack Hackathon in South Africa in 2014 and 2015.