Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Even US Employees Are Outsourcing Their Work To China

This story is too hilarious for me to pass up and share. I'll have to categorize this one under comedy. It just goes to show you how China is becoming a bigger part of the US economy whether you see it with your own eyes or not. Based on a story published by The Next Web, Verizon discovered that a US developer was outsourcing his work to China. A guy by the name of "Bob" sent his work over to a Chinese consulting firm paying them only one-fifth of his six figure annual income to do all of his work for him so we could watch cat videos and read Reddit.

I'm going to make an assumption that Bob is Chinese. How else would he have been able to find those connections given the language barrier, but who knows? Maybe he hired a Chinese translator too. Nonetheless, genius.

Apparently, Bob was running this scheme at several companies simultaneously, and they only caught him after the US company contacted Verizon about a possible security breach coming from China. However, it wasn't a hack from the outside in but vice versa. As stated in Verizon's Security Blog,
As it turns out, Bob had simply outsourced his own job to a Chinese consulting firm. Bob spent less that one fifth of his six-figure salary for a Chinese firm to do his job for him. Authentication was no problem, he physically FedExed his RSA 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 9 to 5 work day. Investigators checked his web browsing history, and that told the whole story. 
A typical ‘work day’ for Bob 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
Bob managed to use a mix of social engineering and outsourcing fundamentals, which he learned from the best, to write all of his code for him paying only a fraction of what he was making. Sound familiar? Hint: Every major American corporation.

At first glance, the story is all chuckles and yes, what he did was definitely in the wrong. Its a violation of company policy to be sharing trade secrets not to mention a blatant security breach to send over your credentials to an outsider. However, I can see how some people may lionize this man, for he was simply "working smarter, not harder".

I don't know of a single American corporation that doesn't outsource these days to China or India. If you want to compete in this global economy these days, you absolutely must outsource some of your labor, production or customer service to either East Asia or Europe due to the tremendous cost advantages over employing your own domestic workers.  

What makes Bob look like a bad guy in this instance is simply his title. That's it. Had he been a CxO or Vice President of the company, he might've been handsomely awarded a raise or fat bonus for saving the company money and making it more operationally efficient. Looks like China isn't just making all of our hardware now but our software too, at least behind the scenes.

Ka-Ching Dynasty! 

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