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Employee caught outsourcing own programming job to China

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 22 2013 12:35 p.m. MST

An employee outsourced his programming job to China — until he got caught.

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It was the perfect job.

The employee was supposed to be doing programming work. Ha! Instead of doing his six-figure income job, according to BBC, the programmer "spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat videos on YouTube and browsing Reddit and eBay."

Yet, somehow, he managed to turn in all his projects. How?

According to the Telegraph, the fellow "had outsourced his own job, paying a Chinese firm approximately $50,000 … from his salary to write computer programs on his behalf."

The scheme would have worked except the guy gave the Chinese firm access to the undisclosed company's virtual network. Having some unknown people in China accessing a company's network and vital information is just the sort of thing that draws attention among a company's tech folk. The company asked for Verizon's RISK team to see if they could figure out what was going on.

Verizon discovered the scheme and the company put an end to it. A typical day for the employee, according to Verizon's security blog, looked like this:

"9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos

11:30 a.m. – Take lunch

1:00 p.m. – Ebay time.

2:00 – ish p.m Facebook updates – LinkedIn

4:30 p.m. – End of day update e-mail to management.

5:00 p.m. – Go home"

Busted and booted.

Except this wasn't the programmer's only "job," the BBC says. He had multiple similar setups with other companies, earning "several hundred thousand dollars a year."

There isn't really anything new about this. For example, Jason Pontin at Wired.com quotes an anonymous poster on Slashdot.org in 2004: "About a year ago I hired a developer in India to do my job. I pay him $12,000 to do the job I get paid $67,000 for. He's happy to have the work. I'm happy that I only have to work 90 minutes a day, talking code. My employer thinks I'm telecommuting. Now I'm considering getting a second job and doing the same thing."

Pontin at Wired.com thinks this is a great thing: "It's a case where everyone wins. By subcontracting out the generic parts of his job, the programmer gives himself a promotion. The Indian developer is well paid. The employer gets good code."

This India outsourcing case, if true, is a little different than the other employee's China connection. The outsourcer to India appears to be a bit more hands on and didn't give his "employee" security access to his company's network.

But, as Verizon's RISK team discovered, the work that China had been sending in wasn't all that bad: "For the last several years in a row he received excellent remarks. His code was clean, well written, and submitted in a timely fashion. Quarter after quarter, his performance review noted him as the best developer in the building."

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @degroote

Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote

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