Developer Sacked For Outsourcing His Entire Job To China

The truly lazy are often the most creative. Like this developer, who was caught outsourcing his entire job to China so that he could spend his time at work... not working.

The ruse -- highlighted in a Verizon case study -- was carried out by an employee called "Bob" who worked at an anonymous "critical infrastructure company". The trick was only spotted when someone noticed suspicious activity on the company's VPN log. The report explains:

"We received a request from a US-based company asking for our help in understanding some anomalous activity that they were witnessing in their VPN logs. Plainly stated, the VPN logs showed [Bob] logged in from China, yet the employee is right there, sitting at his desk, staring into his monitor."

While Bob apparently received glowing performance reviews, all of his development work was being carried out from China. In fact, he pulled off the same scam across multiple companies concurrently, earning "several hundred thousand dollars a year".

Further investigation revealed a typical day's work for Bob included: reading Reddit for two hours, shopping on eBay for an hour, browsing Facebook for two hours, and checking LinkedIn for a further two hours. Looks like he'll be spending more time on LinkedIn from now on. [Verizon via The Inquirer]

Picture: Viorel Sima / Shutterstock



    What can I say - awesome!

    Dont really see the issue here, the guy got his work done, was it illegal for him to outsource? was it stated in his contract that he couldn't do this?

      i suspect granting un-authorised access to a system to a third party may have been the grounds for dismissal, but if we are truly employed to deliver an outcome, Bob worked smarter not harder. you legend.

        Yeah, thats the only issue i could see with it, security breach would be an issue, depending on what the outsourced company had access too.

        Also sorry, but i may have accidentally hit the report button on your comment.

      Letting out company secrets probably. Programmers work on ERP or similar systems which usually have *all* the company data on them, clients, pricing, etc.

    But why was he sacked?
    For showing the boss there may be a better way to achieve the same results ?
    The guy's title should hive been changed - and invited into a committee to identify opportunity and ways to streamline the lazy management concepts.

      In many of the development houses I've worked in, developers are at the bottom of the food chain (with managers at the top). So I'd say he was sacked because his managers were jealous that he was earning his money without "working" for it - only managers are to benefit from another's labour and not workers (who should sweat).

        Funny you should say that !
        I'm a tech systems designer / analyst working for a medium-sized company that desperately needs those skills - yet I'm paid a lot of money to do almost nothing (at all !), When I raised this conundrum (I have a need to feel engaged) I was formally told by management to "just go to your desk, don't rock the boat, and do what you're asked to do !!". But I'm not asked to do 'anything'.... I spend about four hours max at the office each day posting stuff like this.
        And everyone is wondering why there is financial turmoil.

          Sit down, study - earn qualifications whilst someone is paying you - winning all round. There's always a way to be engaged when you're not busy at work.

      Probably fired so that the company could cut out the middle man and get the work done for less money by continuing to use the outsourced person. Effectively, he made himself redundant.

      Well he would have completely circumvented and short circuited all sorts of security, vetting and contract negotiation procedures for one thing. For another he's taking thousands of dollars away from qualified programmers who should be doing those jobs, stealing it all for himself and letting those poor Chinese programmers do it for a pittance.
      He's really just a bigger bastard than his managers could ever be. Clever, but still a dick.

        True. I would have thought that at least one person in one of those companies have realised it was a little weird that Bob was working at several companies at once. Also how did he manage to pull the same scam across several different companies? That is mind boggling. Agreed. He's a very smart cookie, but a complete bastard for exploiting other people in the way that he did.

    To answer the two posts above, I would suggest having unvetted, potentially anonymous, unauthorised users with developer skills (from one of the worlds most prolific countries in terms of hacking) logging on securely to access a company's data... might be an issue.

      "from one of the worlds most prolific countries in terms of hacking" is a xenophobic comment.

        Not if you have the data to back it up. Which I'm guessing is not hard to find.
        If he/she'd said "all Chinese are evil hackers", then yes, it would be xenophobic.

          More importantly, would have had to have said "all Chinese are evil hackers, and I fear each and every one of them"

            I'm glad someone understands the suffix -phobic.

        I thought it was well known that the US and China have the most hackers.
        Also, it's only xenophobic if you see hacking as negative.

    I think bob will be ok through all of this...he is obviously a VERY smart individual

    Best. Ever.

    Now that's ingenuity.

    Haha, good job! I do something similar with graphic design, the clients are happy, I make money and some Chinese guy makes money. Everybody wins.

    When the company does it, market forces. When an employee does it, fired.

    At least they are consistent with who gets fired.

    Can I get his number? We need to hire people like that - creative, innovative, cost-saving! Okay, so he could probably do with some security/ethics training, but still, people like that are so very hard to come by.

      I think you're going to have a problem getting him to work.

        He'll just outsource himself again and get a better outcome anyway.

    He could have worked with the Chineese developer to get the job done quicker?

    the best entrepreneurial spirit ever :-)

    I guess he got lucky with who he got to do the work.

    My experience working with overseas developers has been frustrating. Work half done and broken and needing to be redone, the language barrier making it difficult for communication and getting them to follow instructions, everything needing to be specified to impeccable detail in order for it to be done properly and they have no personal investment in the work being done because with the factory-style high turnover structure of the own organisation, chances are you'll never work with the same particular people again anyway.

    Any money saved on overseas developers would be wasted in the extra time needed for management, communication and redoing the work - but the people up top just look at the hourly rates for them without thinking of the extra complications they bring.

    Employees in development positions usually sign non disclosure agreements as part of their employment. Passing his work on to an outside source would breach that agreement. Why would any employer want someone who won't/can't do what they are paid for. Too smart for his own good. Then again, it's the lazy generation, why is anyone surprised.

      get over this lazy generation bullshit. The guy was smart and did what every corporation wants to do - make money for doing nothing.

        and by doing so, he did one of the worst possible thing a person can do to ensure their further employment (the worst if you remove things that are illegal), he essentially told his employers that his position in the company was no longer needed, because he proved that there are people that would do it for cheaper.


    It's all very well to talk about outsourcing but the results can be summarized as such:
    1) Management finds cheap overseas workers to outsource to.
    2) Fire half of the non-management local employees.
    3) The outsourced work is broken and needs fixing
    4) Instruct the remaining local employees to and hold the overseas workers hands, thus reducing the local employees work out put.
    5) The outsourced overseas work is a disaster:
    a) Shut the project down and give the management a raise for their good work.
    b) Cancel the outsourcing and start hiring local employees.

    I've seen this happen, it's sad but true.

    My friend runs a development company, he used to hire 10 odd staff, his development time between builds was six months. He has outsourced the developing side of his business to China hiring a team of 30 programmers, but maintains a crew of 3 people over here to look over the code before compiling. Not only is there on 2-3 months before cycles, he now has taken on more projects (4 at last count) due to the increased efficiency.

    Even if it is not programming related, my wedding photographer friend sends all her editing overseas, and not only is it a 10th of the prices, they are returned back to her in 3 days instead of one and a half months, and all pictures are pretty much perfect instead of the "I'm a pissed off hung over undergrad uni-student" edits.

    He might actually be a Chinese American. Thus, why he was able to effectively deliver the needed results. ie. No comms barriers.

    I thought this story sounded familiar. It was news from the beginning of the year. My boss came in when it first ran and told everyone about it and then promptly told everyone not to do it or they'd be fired.

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