Outsourced: Employee Sends Own Job To China; Surfs Web | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Outsourced: Employee Sends Own Job To China; Surfs Web

What began as a company's suspicion that its infrastructure was being hacked turned into a case of a worker outsourcing his own job to a Chinese consulting firm, according to reports that cite an investigation by Verizon's security team. The man was earning a six-figure salary.

The anonymous company, identified only as a critical infrastructure firm, asked Verizon's Web security personnel to look into data that showed its virtual private network was being accessed from China — even as the employee whose credentials were used to log in from overseas was sitting in the company's offices, using his computer.

As Emil Protalinski writes at The Next Web, the company's security measures included a coded fob which, the investigating team learned, a code developer had shipped to Shenyang, China, so that a company there could perform his assigned work.

And it turns out that the job done in China was above par — the employee's "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," according to the Verizon Security Blog.

It seems that Verizon has removed the page publishing this "case study" — either that, or it has merely become unavailable for some other reason. But a cached version of the story offers more details. The report, which assigns the inventive employee the fictitious name of "Bob," described him as a family guy in his 40s, with extensive software knowledge.

After they were called in to look for rogue software that allowed hackers to perfectly mimic an employee's log-in, and maintain an active and secure connection, the investigators instead found "hundreds of .pdf notices from a third party contractor/developer in (you guessed it) Shenyang, China."

The Verizon team even found that "Bob" kept a regular schedule at his office:

  • 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

And as they learned, his schedule also included sending less than one-fifth of his salary to the Chinese firm. Verizon's investigators say the evidence they uncovered suggests "Bob" might have had similar arrangements at several companies.

"All told, it looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about fifty grand annually," according to the Security Blog.

It is not yet clear whether "Bob" has read former kickboxer Tim Ferriss's book The 4-Hour Workweek, which explores ideas that include "Outsourcing Life" and "Disappearing Act: How to Escape the Office."

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Is Hello Kitty A Cat Or A Girl?

The pop-cult icon may not be, as it turns out, a cat that looks like a girl, but a girl who looks like a cat.
NPR

How Foster Farms Is Solving The Case Of The Mystery Salmonella

Foster Farms has been accused of poisoning its customers with salmonella bacteria. But in recent months, the company has become a leader in the poultry industry's fight against the foodborne pathogen.
WAMU 88.5

Former Head Of INS Weighs In On White House Immigration Policy

Doris Meissner was the head of Immigration and Naturalization Services under President Bill Clinton, and she speaks with Armando Trull about the constraints on the current president as he seeks to handle the immigration crisis.

NPR

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

Why do some cheeses melt and caramelize better than others? Researchers used high-tech cameras and special software to figure it out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.