what is an insider threat

What Is An Insider Threat?

Have you ever wondered what an insider threat is? Well, you’re in the right place. Insider threats are a growing concern for businesses, especially those that manage sensitive information. An insider threat is an intentional or unintentional attack from within an organization, meaning someone with access to company data has maliciously or inadvertently leaked, stolen, or destroyed valuable information.

In this blog post, we’ll look at what exactly an insider threat is and how you can protect your business against them.

What Is an Insider Threat?

An insider threat is a security risk posed by people who have access to confidential information about an organisation. This could be a current or former employee, contractor, or even a third-party vendor. These people may use their privileged access to steal data or sabotage systems for personal gain or out of revenge. The most common type of insider threat is the malicious user or “bad actor” who steals data to sell it on the black market or pass it on to a competitor. However, there are also unintentional insiders such as those who accidentally misuse their privileges by clicking on malicious links in phishing emails or downloading unsafe software that could expose their company’s data to hackers.

How To Detect Insider Threats

Identifying potential insider threats isn’t always easy because there are no obvious warning signs. However, there are some indicators that you can look out for when trying to determine whether someone poses a risk to your organization’s security. Detecting insider threats include watching for unusual behavior such as accessing sensitive files without permission or attempting to gain access to areas they shouldn’t have access to; sudden changes in job duties; attempts at avoiding security measures; and changes in work hours or patterns of activity outside of normal working hours. Additionally, any suspicious activity on personal devices during work hours should be monitored closely as this could indicate malicious intent.

Advanced Insider Threat Detection

Advanced insider threat detection is the process of using specialized tools and techniques to identify, monitor and protect against malicious activities that could be conducted by insiders. It involves making use of advanced analytics, machine learning and data mining while monitoring behaviors, activities, communications and file system changes in order to flag any suspicious activity as early as possible. This allows organizations to detect malicious acts before they become larger problems, minimizing the risk of data breaches or other catastrophic losses. Advanced insider threat detection provides an additional layer of security to an organization’s overall data protection strategy.

Insider Threats vs External Threats

An external threat refers to any malicious activity that originates from outside of your organization. This could include hackers, malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, etc. While these threats should always be taken seriously and protected against, there are measures you can take to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This includes implementing firewalls and anti-malware software as well as training your employees on how to recognize potential signs of external threats.

An insider threat is much more difficult to prevent because it involves someone within your organization who has access to sensitive data and systems. This could be a disgruntled employee looking to sabotage your business or a careless employee making mistakes due to lack of awareness or training. Either way, the end result is usually a significant data breach that can have serious consequences for your business.

malicious insider threat

Types Of Insider Threats

There are several different types of insider threats that businesses need to be aware of. These include malicious insiders who intentionally leak or manipulate confidential information; negligent insiders who make mistakes due to lack of knowledge or training; disgruntled insiders who use their access for personal gain; third-party vendors with unauthorized access; and former employees with access after leaving the company. All of these poses a risk that must be addressed in order for businesses to protect themselves from potential security risks posed by insider threats.

Malicious Insider Threats

Unresolved issues at work can cause some employees to become risky insiders, taking matters into their own hands by leaking or destroying sensitive data. At worst, these malicious individuals may receive outside assistance so they have the power of a clandestine agent working against an organization’s interests. Insiders are also vulnerable to coercion and manipulation techniques like blackmailing or social engineering employed by external groups that target company assets for nefarious purposes.

Unintentional Insider Attacks

Employee negligence can wreak havoc on an organization’s security system. Whether it be leaving a computer logged in or granting secure access to someone with less-than-stellar credentials, seemingly small mistakes like these open up multiple opportunities for malicious insiders to cause major damage. Companies must remain vigilant and ensure that their employees are well informed of the potential threats lurking within!

Looking for the easy way out, some employees attempt to dodge security hoops. Though these short-term solutions may seem convenient in the moment, they can lead to serious risks that put a company’s data and its people at risk. Making sure everyone follows protocol isn’t just essential – it could be life or death!

Internal Threat

Leaving employees, especially employees that were fired for some reason, can pose a serious threat to organizations, as these inside people may choose to take valuable data with them. This intellectual property could include inventions and patents which would give the ex-employee’s next company an unfair edge in competition – leaving behind the victim organization struggling for success. It is essential that companies protect themselves from this type of potential disaster by properly guarding their ideas and assets.

Security Breaches

Outsourcing portions of operations to third-party organizations may be convenient, but it is also a risky move. As hackers become more sophisticated in their tactics and techniques, companies need to remain vigilant when working with outside firms; by doing so they can help protect themselves from becoming the victim of cyber extortion after an attack on one of their partners breaches confidential data.

Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks due to insider threats have become a major security threat in recent years, as malicious actors are increasingly taking advantage of access to sensitive data and networks. It is essential that organizations understand how this type of attack works, because insiders often have legitimate access to resources but do not require the same authentication process as attackers from outside. By leveraging existing rights, malicious insiders pose a tremendous risk to organizations’ systems as they could breach highly confidential data or delete important files. To counter these attacks, it is essential for businesses and companies to use advanced security controls, such as regular audits and implementation of multi-factor authentication protocols. This way, companies can lower the risk of damaging cyber attacks and ensure the safety of their digital assets from unauthorized users on the inside.

How To Prevent Insider Threats

The best way to protect your business against insider threats is to create policies that limit access to sensitive data and put in place monitoring systems that can detect suspicious activity quickly and efficiently. Additionally, businesses should regularly train employees on security protocols and conduct regular background checks on new hires in order to ensure they don’t pose a risk. Finally, businesses should implement additional measures such as multi-factor authentication and encryption technology in order to further secure their networks from potential threats.

Ways To Protect Your Business Operations From A Potential Insider Threat

Keeping a business safe from an insider threat requires dedication to confidentiality, security measures, and potential-employee investigation. Establishing policies which ensure data is kept confidential amongst upper level management and that outside access is monitored is essential in protecting your company’s sensitive information. Making sure employees go through proper screenings when hired will allow professionals to recognize any negative tendencies or criminal behavior before it can be acted upon. Additionally, implementing multi-factor authentication into access of secure documents and other digital resources should help to prevent unauthorized use of corporate accounts. Finally, creating an open dialogue between employers and employees will help ensure any suspicious activity can be brought to light quickly before it can cause harm.

inadvertent insider threats


Insider threats can be incredibly damaging for businesses if left unchecked but luckily there are ways you can protect yourself from these risks. By creating policies that limit access to sensitive data and implementing additional security measures like multi-factor authentication and encryption technology you can help keep your business safe from potential attacks by malicious users and unintentional insiders alike. With proper training and vigilance, you can ensure your business remains secure against both outside hackers and internal threats alike.

If you’re looking for help protecting your company from any potentially malicious activity and potential insider threats, reach out to Global Solutions now. GSI offers comprehensive security assistance for cleared industry contractors. Our team can provide expertise and resources in managing, administering, and monitoring your industrial security operations to ensure that it meets the standards of DCSA & 32 CFR Part 177 (the NISPOM). Additionally, we offer support for Insider Threat Program Senior Officials plus management services tailored specifically to satisfy all requirements related with an effective insider threat program.

Our services have you covered for all your security needs, including the management of DISSs, VARs and CSRs; reports on incidents; briefings such as NDAs and debriefings with initial or annual visits; administration of self-inspections annually to meet DCSA requirements while helping ensure compliance with NISS guidance packets. Plus we can assist in maintaining personnel files by processing both initial investigations & reinvestigations along w/ SF86 reviews plus submission – not to mention eQip best practices & insider threat program management! We’ve also got expertise in public trust processing so get ready – our team is here for you.