What do you think of when you hear the term “insider threat?” Do you think of someone trying to harm your company from the inside? Or do you think of a disgruntled employee who is unhappy with their job and may want to do some damage? If you said yes to any of these questions, you’re right.
But while either of these scenarios could be considered an insider threat, there are many distinct types of insider threats. This blog post will discuss everything you need to know about insider threats, including how to detect and protect against them. We will also look at how Global Solutions can help keep your data safe from insiders!
What Is An Insider Threat?
An insider threat is a kind of malicious behavior carried out by someone authorized to access an organization’s network and data. It is any threat from within your company, whether from an employee, contractor, or other types of insider. This can include people trying to harm your company and those who may not have bad intentions but could still unintentionally put your data at risk. Insiders can severely damage organizations, including stealing information, sabotaging systems, and even committing fraud.
For example, an insider threat could be an employee who accidentally downloads malware onto their work computer, which then spreads to the rest of your network. Or an insider threat could be a disgruntled employee who deliberately steals sensitive company data and shares it with competitors.
There are many different types of insider threats, but they all have one thing in common: they pose a risk to your company’s data security. That is why it is important to be aware of the risks and have security measures in place to protect your business from these threats.
Who Is Considered An Insider?
An insider is anyone who has authorized access to your company’s data. This includes a current or former employee, contractor, and other types of insiders. In most cases, the people who pose the biggest security risk to businesses are not external threats but employees or contractors with privileged access to company data. This is because insiders already have a level of trust within the company, which makes it easier for them to access sensitive data.
Who Is At Risk Of Insider Threats?
Any business that relies on data to function and has employees or contractors with access to this sensitive data is at risk of insider threats. This includes companies of all sizes in all industries. No matter how big or small your company is or what industry you are in, you need to be aware of the risks of insider threats and have a plan to protect your data.
This means if you have a company or plan to have a company someday, you need to be prepared for the potential of insider threats. If you are also an employee or contractor with access to sensitive data, you must be aware of the risks you or others could pose to the company and take steps to protect your data.
Types Of Insider Threats
There are many different types of insider threats:
Malicious Insider Threats
These threats are caused by people deliberately trying to harm your company. They may do this for personal gain, financial gain, revenge, or political reasons. Malicious insiders usually have some grudge against the company or a specific person within the company. This could be because they feel they have been mistreated or dissatisfied with their job. Malicious insiders may also be part of a criminal organization or terrorist group.
Some Types Of Malicious Insider Threats
Espionage is when someone deliberately tries to steal your company’s trade secrets or other sensitive information. This could be done to sell this information to a competitor or to give it to a foreign government.
Theft is the simple act of stealing, whether money or intellectual property. This is when someone takes data or company property without permission. This could be done to sell the data or property or use it for personal gain.
Sabotage is when someone intentionally damages company property or data to disrupt your business. This could be done for revenge or to slow down your company’s progress.
Fraud is when someone uses your company’s name or resources to commit a crime. This could be done to get money from your company or make it appear that your company is responsible for the crime.
Cyber attacks are when someone tries to gain unauthorized access to your company’s data or systems. This could be done to steal data or damage your company’s systems.
Accidental Insider Threats
These are caused by people who unintentionally put your company at risk. They may not realize that they are doing anything wrong or may not understand the importance of keeping your data secure. Accidental insiders usually pose a greater risk than malicious insiders because they are more likely to have access to sensitive information, and their carelessness opens doors to external threats.
Some Types Of Unintentional Insider Threats
Inadvertent insider threats
These are threats caused by employees or contractors who unintentionally expose sensitive data. This can happen when they send an email to the wrong person or post something on social media that reveals too much information. It can also occur if they lose their laptop or smartphone, and someone else finds it and gains access to your data.
Compromised insider threats
These are threats caused by people who have had their credentials stolen by a hacker. The hacker then uses these credentials to gain access to your data. This type of insider threat is often challenging to detect, as the hackers usually have the same level of access as the compromised insider.
Phishing is when someone sends an email that appears to be from a legitimate company to get the recipient to click on a link or attachment. This could lead to the recipient downloading malware or giving their username and password to the attacker.
Poor security practices
Poor security practices can lead to data being compromised. This includes using weak passwords, not updating software, and sharing passwords with others.
Negligent Insider Threats
These are threats caused by people who deliberately ignore security rules or procedures. They may do this because they think it is unnecessary or because they are trying to save time. Negligent insiders can be a risk if they have access to sensitive data, as they may unintentionally give hackers a way into your system.
Moles are external threat actors who gain the confidence of a current employee to get insider access to systems and data. Often, they’re from an outside organization hoping to steal trade secrets.
Examples Of Insider Threats
There are many different examples of insider threats. Some of the most common include:
Theft Of Confidential Information: An insider could steal confidential information, such as customer data or trade secrets, and sell it to a competitor.
- In 2014, employees of Home Depot were arrested for stealing data from the company and selling it to a competitor.
- In 2020, a former executive was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing trade secrets from Google’s self-driving-car division and handing them over to Uber, his new employer.
Unauthorized Access To Company Systems: An insider could gain unauthorized access to company systems, such as email servers or financial databases. This could be done to steal data or sabotage the system.
- In 2018, a Tesla employee was said to have tampered with corporate systems and distributed proprietary information to third parties.
Introducing Malware: An insider could introduce malware into your company’s systems, intentionally or unintentionally. This could allow hackers to access your data or disable your systems.
- In 2016, an employee of the Bangladeshi central bank was found to have installed malware on the bank’s servers, which allowed hackers to steal $81 million from the bank.
Physical Damage: An insider could physically damage company property, such as computers or servers. This could be done out of revenge or sabotage.
- In 2017, a Japanese electronics company employee was arrested for setting fire to his workplace, which caused $50 million in damage.
Effects Of Insider Attacks
The effects of insider attacks can be devastating to a company. They can lead to the loss of sensitive data, financial losses, and damage to the company’s reputation. In some cases, they can even result in legal action against the company. Insider attacks can be brutal to recover from, so you must do everything possible to prevent any internal threat from succeeding.
Insider Threat Detection And Protection
There are many different ways to detect and protect against insider threats. Some of them include:
Monitoring Employee And Contractor Activity
Some companies use employee monitoring software to track employee activity and look for red flags that could indicate malicious behavior. This can include monitoring what websites they are visiting, what files they are accessing, and what emails they are sending.
Checking For Unusual Activity
Another way to detect insider threats is to look for unusual or out-of-the-ordinary activity. This can include a sudden increase in the number of login attempts from a particular user or unexpected changes to data.
Using Security Analytics
Security analytics is a type of software that uses artificial intelligence to detect anomalies in data. This can detect insider threats by looking for patterns that could indicate malicious intent.
Restricting Access To Data
You can protect your data by restricting access to it. Only allow key employees and contractors who need access to the data to have it.
Protecting Critical Assets
Identify your organization’s critical logical and physical assets. These include networks, systems, confidential data (including customer information, employee details, schematics, and detailed strategic plans), facilities, and people. Take steps to protect these assets from insider threats. You can save them by implementing security measures like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption.
Implementing Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that requires users to enter a code from their phone or other devices in addition to their username and password. This makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your data and can also help to prevent insider threats.
Educating Employees And Contractors
One of the best ways to prevent insider threats is to educate your employees and contractors about security risks. To combat negligence and address the drivers of malicious behavior, you should educate your employees regarding security issues and work to improve employee satisfaction.
If You Suspect That An Insider Threat Has Occurred, There Are Several Things You Can Do
Report The Incident: You should first report the incident to your security team or the police.
Gather Evidence: If possible, try to gather evidence that could be used to identify the insider. This can include things like logs of employee activity or CCTV footage.
Take Action: Once you have reported the incident, you will need to take action to prevent it from happening again. This can include things like changing your security procedures or increasing surveillance of employees.
How Global Solutions Can Help Protect Against The Threat Posed By Insiders
At Global Solutions, we take insider threats seriously. We have many different solutions that can help to protect your company against insider threats, including:
Insider Threat Program Management: We can help you develop and implement an insider threat program tailored to your company’s needs.
Conduct Self-Inspection: We can help you to conduct self-inspections of your company’s data security practices. This can help you to identify any weaknesses in your security that an insider could exploit.
Implement Security Controls: We can help you to implement security controls that will protect your data from being accessed or shared by unauthorized users.
Maintain Personnel Security File: We can help you maintain a personnel security file for all your employees and contractors. This will help you to track their activity and look for any red flags that could indicate malicious intent.
Are you ready to decrease your risk of potential insider threats with advanced insider threat detection? Contact Global Solutions today. We can help you to assess the risks and put in place the controls you need to protect your data.