Security Experts:

Mozilla Cybersecurity Staff Hit by Layoffs

Mitchell Baker, the CEO of Mozilla Corporation and chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, announced on Tuesday that the company has laid off roughly 250 people, and former employees say the list includes cybersecurity staff.

Baker, who took on the role of CEO in April, announced the reduction of the company’s workforce in what she described as “a significant restructuring of Mozilla Corporation.”

“[Our] pre-COVID plan for 2020 included a great deal of change already: building a better internet by creating new kinds of value in Firefox; investing in innovation and creating new products; and adjusting our finances to ensure stability over the long term,” Baker wrote. “Economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic have significantly impacted our revenue. As a result, our pre-COVID plan was no longer workable.”

Baker said those impacted by layoffs are eligible for severance that is at least equivalent to full base pay until the end of the year, and they will also receive individual performance bonuses for the first half of 2020. In addition to those being laid off, roughly 60 people will change teams.

While Mozilla has not shared any specifics on what type of staff it has laid off, at least two employees in security roles reported being among those impacted. One is Sarah Huffman, who has been an information security risk manager for the past two and a half years, and Michal Purzynski, a staff security engineer in Mozilla’s threat management team.

Purzynski, who has been with Mozilla for the past 8 years, said the company terminated its entire threat management team, and noted that “Mozilla is now without detection and incident response.”

Mozilla layoff tweet

While some believe that Mozilla’s decision to lay off cybersecurity staff can send the wrong message on how much it cares about security, others believe the company made the right call.

Mozilla layoff tweet

Mozilla told SecurityWeek that it has restructured its security functions across the organization to better ensure the security of Mozilla and its users.

“Some positions were eliminated as a result of this effort, but the teams responsible for the security of the Firefox browser and Firefox services were not impacted,” the company explained. 

Many have already offered jobs or help getting a job to those laid off by Mozilla.

Earlier this year, Mozilla terminated approximately 70 employees and The Verge reports that the company will have roughly 750 employees following this latest round of layoffs.

*updated with clarifications from Mozilla

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.