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The Great Resignation will drive cyber attacks in 2022

By Shannon Williams
Fri 17 Dec 2021

AI cyber security experts Darktrace predict that the Great Resignation we’ve seen during the pandemic will drive cyber attacks in 2022. 

The last several months have seen a tidal wave of resignations, in the U.S. and around the world. 

Toby Lewis, Head of Threat Analysis, Darktrace, is advising HR professionals and business leaders how to protect their valuable data.

 “With the 'Great Resignation' of employees during the pandemic, we can expect to see disgruntled employees steal information or employees unintentionally taking information with them to their next job," says Lewis.

"We have also seen criminal groups attempt to recruit insiders by offering a large sum of money or a portion of the ransom," he says.

Whether intentional or unintentional, Lewis says insiders will become a growing priority for businesses in 2022. 

"With more organisations relying on cloud communication and collaboration applications, these threats become even more difficult to detect across sprawling digital infrastructures," he says. 

"With employees working remotely, enforcing the return of equipment and data will become even more difficult."

Lewis says organisations will rely more heavily on security technology that understands employee behaviour from a multitude of angles, including cloud, SaaS, user, and the endpoint. 

"This technology automatically takes action when an employee behaves out of character – by sending emails to outside sources, accessing files they usually wouldn't, or other anomalous activities," he says.

"These approaches will work alongside new Zero Trust tools and adhere to Zero Trust architectures to protect organisations from insider threats.”

According to the Harvard Business Review,  the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed there were 4 million Americans who quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations peaked in April and have remained abnormally high for the last several months, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July.

Research into the Great Resignation at the Harvard Business Review showed employees between 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021. 

Resignation rates also fell for those in the 60 to 70 age group, while employees in the 25 to 30 and 45+ age groups experienced slightly higher resignation rates than in 2020.

The research found resignations are highest in the tech and health care industries. Some 3.6% more health care employees quit their jobs than in the previous year, and in tech, resignations increased by 4.5%

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