You know, the old saying, work smarter not harder? Well apparently one US developer took this mantra a bit to far as it was recently discovered that the man, known only as "Bob," was outsourcing his job to a developer in China so he could surf the web!
That's right, good old "Bob," who was known throughout the US company as a top developer isn't actual Bob at all. Likely it's more like Hao or Ming. Either way, the developer's job was outsourced to a Chinese sub-contractor, to free him up for more the interesting task of browsing Reddit for cat videos!
The scheme was discovered sometime last year as a security audit conducted by Verizon uncovered the fact that this company's leading man, though he might be smarter than all the rest, was certainly not working harder ... unless you call viewing viral videos tough work, then, yeah, this guy was a pro! Outsourcing his job to an unknown Chinese subcontractor, good ol' developer "Bob" was living the high life with an eight hour work day being spent almost completely surfing the web.
So What Did Outsourcing Developer "Bob" Do All Day?
According to "The Register", the man's day started at 9 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. and during that time he diligently pursued his passion of surfing the internet.
Here is what his schedule looked like:
9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Come in and get straight to surfing Reddit. (Cat videos are his favorite!)
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Reddit-loving US developer Bob takes an extended lunch break -- after all, it's hard work finding the best viral cat videos on the web!
1:00 p.m. - 2 p.m. Good ol' Bob strolls back into work and spends a quality hour searching eBay for something new to spend his not-so-hard-earned money on.
2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. It's time to get caught up on communication -- Facebook and LinkedIn updates being his favorite. Searching for video kitty gems is hard work, so you got to share it with the world right?
4:30 p.m. rolls around as the most grueling 30 minutes of the workday arrives -- time to send a daily progress update to management! Guess that's one bit he couldn't outsource. Darn!
It may sound crazy but it's true!
How The Outsource Scheme Began
It seems the shenanigans began around the time the US based company decided to give its employees a bit of freedom. The company had set up a basic VPN system that allowed for two-factor authentication -- this way staff could work at home rather than the office.
"This organization had been slowly moving toward a more telecommuting oriented workforce, and they had therefore started to allow their developers to work from home on certain days," according to spokesperson Andrew Valentine,
Some two years after the initial work-from-home set up was initiated, the company received a call from the auditor who informed them that the VPN traffic logs showed regular log-ins to the company's main server from someplace highly unexpected -- Shenyang, China. Even crazier was the fact that the credentials being used were those of the firm's top programmer, "Bob."
With all the issues that have taken place in IT security of late, the company's IT initially was under the assumption that these log ins were some form of malicious attack on the network. Here is what was said about the issue.
"The company's IT personnel were sure that the issue had to do with some kind of zero day malware that was able to initiate VPN connections from Bob's desktop workstation via external proxy and then route that VPN traffic to China, only to be routed back to their concentrator."
Though the company wasn't exactly convinced that what they were looking at was a malicious attack, still it was obvious this report was something which definitely required investigation. Verizon investigators, who were hired by the US based company quickly went about the process of getting approval to search Bob's computer habits, and before long, discovered he had hired a software consultancy in Shenyang The consultant would be responsible for all of Bob's programming work for him. In order to accomplish it, Bob had FedExed the Chinese sub-contractor his two-factor authentication token so they could log into his account and begin doing his work. Paying them a mere 20% of his six-figure salary, this freed US developer Bob up to do what he really loved -- and that apparently was watching cat videos on Reddit.
The outsourcing to China idea worked brilliantly for a while as Bob's performance was always deemed well above the competition, and assessments by human resources named him the firm's top coder quarter after quarter as he was considered expert in C, C++, Perl, Java, Ruby, PHP and Python.
Developer Bob: The Outsourcing King of the Hill
Where it gets even crazier however, is that fact that this was not outsourcing developer Bob's only scheme! It seems the guy realized what a good thing he had going and so he started taking on more jobs at other firms, where he would also outsource the work to China and earn thousands for doing practically nothing other than hanging around on the net checking out Reddit's best cat videos.
Here is what the spokesperson for Verizon, Mr Valentine, had to say about the matter.
"Evidence suggested he had the same scam going across multiple companies in the area. All told, it looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about $50,000 (£31,270) annually."
Of course it goes without saying that dear old developer Bob is no longer employed with the company -- perhaps they've picked up his Chinese sub-contractor instead?
Developer Bob's China Outsourcing Scheme: Brilliant or Detestable?
As a side note, I gotta hand it to that guy. How cool is that? I mean, I know the legal and security reasons for why this would be considered unacceptable behavior, but when it comes down to it, it sounds like this guy is the ultimate talent scout. If I were other companies, I'd be propositioning him to become a consultant within the development field. Clearly, short of being discovered, there were no issues with what he did -- I mean, really, good old Bob aka Chinese sub-contracting developer was the top performing developer for months on end and according to Valentine, Bob was thought by his coworkers to be an "non-offensive and quiet" but talented man versed in several programming languages. He just "spent less than one fifth of his six-figure salary for a Chinese firm to do his job for him". Brilliant, I say, just brilliant.
At any rate, wherever he is, and whatever he is doing, I sincerely hope former US developer Bob has learned something from this whole deal. Though, at this point, what the lesson is, I'm unsure. In the meantime, check out one of outsourcing developer Bob's favorite cat videos below.
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