A security check on an employee at a US firm has revealed that he was outsourcing his work to China. The software developer, in his 40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching videos on YouTube, browsing Reddit and bidding on eBay.


He reportedly paid just a fifth of his six-figure salary to a company based in Shenyang to do his job for him, but the scam came to light after the US firm asked IT for an audit, suspecting a security breach, having set up a fairly standard VPN connection for the employee to work from home.

The company then discovered the existence of an open and active VPN connection from Shenyang to the employee’s workstation that went back months.

“Evidence even 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.” Stated Andrew Valentine, of Verizon.

The employee, an “inoffensive and quiet” but talented man versed in several programming languages, “spent less than one fifth of his six-figure salary for a Chinese firm to do his job for him”, Mr Valentine said.

“Authentication was no problem. He physically FedExed his RSA [security] token to China so that the third-party contractor could log-in under his credentials during the workday. It would appear that he was working an average nine-to-five work day,” he added.

As an employer, you certainly hope that your employees are enterprising and innovative people who get results in an efficient manner. It seems that is exactly what this company thought they had, in fact, the performance reviews of this employee were exemplary, highlighting in particular that his assignments were always pristine and on time. In one instance he was even described as the best developer at the company!

Wasted Talent?

The employee, obviously, no longer works at the firm, but my question is whether the skills of this enterprising individual were wasted in the organisation? You would hope that management or HR would have identified that this astute (if immoral) individual had a talent for outsourcing and procurement!

Clearly there were efficiencies to be had by outsourcing to China, with exemplary performance reviews the work conducted by the Chinese firm was obviously up to scratch, and cost just a fifth of employing someone in house. Yet this individual chose not to come forward with his idea, he felt no allegiance to the company and decided that it would be better to scam his bosses than to use his talents to climb the corporate ladder. This is a rather extreme, but clear cut example of a disengaged employee.