Employees at various companies are increasingly taking sensitive computer code with them as they quit their jobs, the Financial Times (FT) reported.
As pandemic restrictions ease, high numbers of people have been quitting their jobs, according to FT. Research from the cyber security group Code42 found that there have been around 65 million attempts by workers to take some source code from their corporate network in the three months to the end of June.
That’s an increase from the 20 million in each of the previous three quarters, FT reported.
“We’re just seeing a huge increase in employees taking source code from their companies,” Code42 CEO Joe Payne said, per FT. “It’s highly correlated to turnover … We’ve seen more job changes this quarter than we’ve seen in a couple of years now.”
Payne said the ramifications can sometimes be dire, according to FT.
“When we talk to employees, they say, ‘It’s my code,’” he told FT. “[But] you’re not allowed to take the source code that your company pays you to create.”
“Taking source code can have massive consequences for businesses — it can be the end of your business,” he added, per FT.
The number of workers quitting their jobs hit a high in April. Those who had been avoiding quitting due to the uncertainty of the pandemic did so en masse as the restrictions began to loosen and it looked like things were getting back to normal in some capacity, FT reported. Many have been stealing source code as they go, which refers to the set of instructions made by developers which often has highly sensitive or proprietary data.
Data is sometimes knowingly taken when the perpetrator has a grudge on their employer or is motivated by a desire for finances. Sometimes blackmail is involved, according to FT.
Jobless claims have also been up in recent months, with claims moving between 368,000 and 424,000 since May.