An IT company investigation over apparent hack attempts from China uncovered a thriving and secret outsourcing operation by the firm's top software developer. The probe found that the employee, identified as Bob, spent the whole day watching cat videos while paying Chinese developers one-fifth of his salary or about $850 a month.
The routine security check by Verizon show repeated logging on the company's computer system from China, leading the company to call in telecom experts to verify if hackers had successfully entered their system.
Bob was described as a top-performing programmer and a quiet family man in his 40s who appeared working diligently daily. To appear busy, he spent most of the day surfing Reddit, eBay and Facebook.
After surfing Reddit for several hours, he then watched cat videos.
The China log-ins were the result of the company's previous policy to allow software developers to occasionally work from home which required the setting up of a standard virtual private network (VPN) concentrator to facilitate remote access. The firm's IT security department started to regularly monitor the logs generated at the VPN in May 2012 and was surprised by frequent open and active VPN connections from Shenyang, China.
Further investigation of Bob's workstation showed PDF invoices from third-party contractors in China. He apparently used the method across multiple companies in the area of his employment.
Bob is no longer connected with the company.