Looking at the statistics, February was a positively brutal month for workers being idled. Last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the ugly numbers. There were 2,769 mass layoff actions putting 295,477 out of work. That’s 542 mass layoff actions more than January and 57,575 laid off.
I wondered how many of those were IT people and what percentage might turn to cyber crime. The BLS only obliquely breaks out what could represent IT workers as “professional and technical services.” Not surprisingly, manufacturing bore the brunt of February’s layoffs accounting for 47% of the unemployment claims, but IT folks could represent a small piece in all the 19 industry sectors that BLS follows.
Suffice it to say there’s plenty of IT folks with little or nothing to do. That out of work IT professionals turn to cyber crime should come as no surprise. So the headline to an IDG News service article on China becoming the world’s malware factory is to be expected. The story explores how idled workers in China are turning to cyber crime.
Everyone needs to be vigilant (but not turn into vigilantes). Indeed, a story at CSO.com cites a Symantec study that says 98 percent of organizations suffer “tangible loss” as the result of cyber crime (more than a little self-interest on Symantec’s part should be noted). With the third variant of the Conficker worm set to strike on April 1, take the message of vigilance to heart (let’s hope it’s as tepid as Y2K).
By the way, the BBC reported Wednesday that the U.K. Government is monitoring social networking sites like Facebook to “tackle criminal gangs and terrorists.” That’s vigilance of a controversial nature.
Is this just another day in the cyber jungle or is the cyber crime problem exacerbated by the expanding ranks of the idled? It’s obvious: the latter. So if you want to freshen up your knowledge of malware, check out the many primers on the subject. I like Wikipedia or the CSO’s web site.