What would you do if you earned a six-figure income and realized you could pay someone else to do the job for you and still bring home the bacon? Would you do it? Well, a software developer, dubbed “Bob,” was recently discovered doing just that, but even more incredulous was that he hired a consulting firm in China to do his work for him.
The man worked for what Verizon’s RISK team calls a “critical infrastructure company” supposedly writing code. In review after review, the man received high marks, and for several years his superiors called him the best developer in the company. But all along, Bob was paying a group of people in Shenyang, China, to write the incredible codes he was taking credit for.
It’s at once both genius and stupid. Genius because the guy figured out he could pay someone else one-fifth of what he was earning. Stupid because he went about it in all the wrong ways.
He sent his security token to China so his “employees” could log in and do his job, which ultimately resulted in the discovery of his ruse. When his employer found an anomaly in his log-in information, they investigated. They couldn’t figure out why the system was showing that he was logged in from China when he was sitting at his desk in the office, which prompted a call to the Verizon RISK team to probe the issue.
What they found was surprising. Bob wasn’t doing any work. Instead, he kept a rigorous routine of logging into Reddit, watching cat videos, checking eBay, updating his Facebook status, and somehow still managed to find time to take lunch and update his supervisors on his “progress.”
The Chinese consulting firm, on the other hand, was logging on during the very same hours Bob was sitting in the office, diligently going about its work for a pittance. This naturally alarmed his employer because an unauthorized VPN was accessing their system. If a rogue hacker within that consulting firm had wanted to do some damage, it would have been only a matter of logging in and taking over.
According to investigators, the highly paid software developer kept a record of PDF invoices and payments on his workstation computer. They also discovered he was also pulling off this scheme with other companies and bringing home hundreds of thousands of dollars per year while paying the Chinese firm $50,000. Needless to say, he’s not with the company anymore. No word on whether the Chinese firm was retained, although it would seem these workers at least warranted a trip and a “good job” bonus from the company for producing some of its best work.
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