May 15, 2023 By Jennifer Gregory 2 min read

You can’t look at the news these days without reading about layoffs in the technology sector. Roger Lee, founder of Layoffs.fyi told Investors.com that more than 120,000 tech employees lost their jobs in 2023 as of Feb 27, compared to 161,411 in all of 2022. However, all layoffs aren’t bad news.

Most people don’t think of criminals losing their jobs. But if the criminal activity isn’t making money, then it makes no sense to continue. And that is happening in the cyber crime world.

At least 45 threat actors working at a call center run by former members of the ransomware group Conti lost their jobs last fall. Before getting their pink slips, their job was convincing people over the phone to let them install remote access software onto their computers or networks. With access, the attackers could then infect networks with ransomware. However, the scam wasn’t as successful as planned and the call center lost money.

Data shows cyber crime is slightly less lucrative

Data backs up the trend that cyber crime is becoming less of a big payday. Ransomware especially appears to be less lucrative than it was even a year or two ago. One of the biggest reasons is that fewer victims are paying the ransom than before. Coveware’s CEO Bill Siegel told the Wall Street Journal that only 37% of victims pay the ransom today, compared to 85% four years ago.

Additionally, the IBM Security X-Force study showed a significant reduction in the average length of an attack. The duration went from over two months in 2019 to less than four days in 2021. The IBM 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report found that the average cost of a ransomware attack went down slightly from $4.62 million in 2021 to $4.54 million in 2022. However, the cost of a ransomware attack is still higher than the overall cost of a data breach at $4.35 million.

Are we moving in the right direction?

Yes. Probably. But now isn’t the time to let up.

Companies improving their cybersecurity measures and creating an incident response plan for ransomware help to reduce the impact of cyberattacks. Additionally, companies are training employees on how to respond to an attack, which can reduce the impact and the duration. By continuing effective measures and putting cyber criminals out of work, organizations and governments can hopefully continue the trend of threat actor layoffs into the future.

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