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Last Updated : Jun 26, 2020 03:44 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Companies beware, sacked employees could be selling client info on dark web

Kumar Ritesh, founder, Cyfirma, told Moneycontrol the number of sacked employees selling information on the dark web has gone up significantly in the past four months, especially from India.

Disgruntled employees from India are now selling software licenses and company’s sensitive information on the dark web, according to a recent report by Cyfirma, a cyber intelligence platform.

Client data of an IT firm, remote desktop protocol and even Microsoft licenses for few hundred dollars are available on the dark web, the report noted.

Kumar Ritesh, founder, Cyfirma, told Moneycontrol the number of sacked employees selling information on the dark web has gone up significantly in the past four months, especially from India.


Though quantifying the scale of such transaction is tough, Ritesh said the firm has noticed at least 68 different cases of employees selling confidential information and close to 23 of them are from India.

Take for instance, the employee from an Indian startup selling 300 Microsoft licenses. In a conversation with a potential buyer, the employee could be seen telling, "I was retrenched from my job recently and my employer did not pay my salary." The employeee was selling the software in bulk for $800.

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In another case, the laid-off employee could be seen selling 9,400 client details of one of the largest IT firm in India that includes the customer contact, payment details and also projects in an excel sheet for $2800. Another employee was selling remote desktop protocol, which is a software used for connecting to client system remotely.

Moneycontrol has seen the screenshots of these conversations.

These information, particularly the client data and remote desktop protocol could be detrimental to the company's image and relationship with its clients.

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Earlier, a company would probably need not worry about these instances. However things have changed. It is almost impossible to trace these employees, and the anonymity dark web offers is making more number of them get on to the platform selling information.

For instance, consumption of dark web has gone up by 16-20 percent, said Ritesh. He explained that if there were 10,000 people joining the dark web before COVID-19, in the past four months, it has gone up to 11,600 to 12,000 people.

This is a dangerous trend as coming months will see more employees being laid off, pointed out experts. Aditya Narayan Mishra, CIEL HR Services, had said in an earlier interaction with Moneycontrol that the IT industry could see 1.5 lakh employees losing their jobs.

Hiring experts added that while retrenchments might be inevitable, companies should ensure that terminated employees receive fair compensation to avoid such incidents.

A startup executive, whose firm handed pink slips to 40 employees recently, said the company ensured that these employees were given six months salary and outplacement opportunity.

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First Published on Jun 26, 2020 03:41 pm