You can’t look at the news these days without reading about layoffs in the technology sector. Roger Lee, founder of told 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.

More from News

Zombie APIs are a Top Security Concern as API Attacks Surge 400%

4 min read - Organizations of all sizes rely on application programming interfaces (APIs). The API explosion has been driven by several factors, including cloud computing, demand for mobile/web applications, microservices architecture and the API economy as a business model. APIs enable developers to access data remotely, integrate with other services, build modular applications and monetize their data/services. For enterprises that participated in a recent research study, the average number of APIs per organization was 15,564. Large enterprises (over 10,000 employees) had an average…

4 min read

Google’s Bug Bounty Hits $12 Million: What About the Risks?

4 min read - Bug bounty numbers have never been better. In 2022, Google rewarded the efforts of over 700 researchers from 68 different countries who helped improve the security of the company’s products and services. The total amount of awards grew from $8.7 million paid in 2021 to $12 million in 2022, a nearly 38% increase. Over the past few years, bug bounty programs have gained significant traction. Companies have been lured in by the potential to identify vulnerabilities quickly, enhance product security…

4 min read

Swiss Army Knife Malware Slices Through Systems In so Many Ways

4 min read - What if one single malware strain could cut through any security that tried to stop it? In a new study of more than 550,000 live malware strains, the Picus Red Report 2023 has unveiled a trove of over 5 million malicious activities. In the report, researchers identified the top tactics utilized by cyber criminals in 2022. Picus' findings also highlighted the growing prevalence of "Swiss Army knife malware". This type of malicious software is capable of executing a range of…

4 min read

How the Rise and Fall of BreachForums Impacts Cybersecurity

4 min read - In mid-March 2022, the underground cyber forum BreachForums quietly made its debut. Within a year, the platform became one of the most prolific cyber crime forums in history. According to the FBI, BreachForums illegally posted hacked data pertaining to nearly 14 billion people globally. It hosted breaches that included data related to 7 million Robinhood customers, 23 terabytes of Shanghai National Police data and, more recently, 56,000 records from the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority. The D.C.-based hack exposed the…

4 min read