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Insider Threat: The enemy resides in your system

Insider Threat: The enemy resides in your system

Insider threat is one of the biggest challenges in cybersecurity. According to a recent survey, 58% of security breaches are caused by insider threats. The nature of insider threat is peculiar from other cybersecurity challenges, so these types of threats require a different strategy for preventing them. When InfoSecprofessionals lockdown networks, the malicious players look for the next easy way to enter the system – employees. A breach from the inside doesn’t have to be from a current employee, but a board member, ex-employee or anyone who had access to the confidential information.

Classification of Insider Threat

Insider threats are mainly classified into three types. Malicious Insider, Exploited Insiders and Careless Insiders.

Malicious Insiders: Individuals who misuse their authorization privileges for personal or financial gains.

Exploited Insiders: The insiders who assists third parties like rival organizations or hackers to gain access from within the network.

Careless Insiders: Insiders who causes a breach unintentionally due to the lack of awareness or simply because of human errors.

In some cases a previous employee can drop a malicious program inside the system such as a logic bomb, which may lead to terrible situations after a particular time period.

Difficulty in identifying

Insider threats are more difficult to identify than outside threats. Automated security measures like anti-virus software or network firewalls are not sufficient to stop or detect insider threats. For example, a former employee with valid credentials can enter the network without triggering any alarms and do serious damage. So, insider threats often go undetected until the disaster occurs.

insider threat

Insider threat can happen anywhere

The days were an employee spends his entire career in a single company is almost over. According to a recent survey, around 90% of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than 3 years. Which shows they would have 15-30 different jobs in their lifetime. This frequent job hopping results in decreased employee loyalty to an employer and causes a huge risk of insider threat. Half of the office workers leave with confidential company data when they leave a company. And the increasing trend of freelancing and work from home schemes in the office environment increases the chance of data exfiltration and even makes the data theft more easy.

How to mitigate Insider threat

Leaders in InfoSec industry consider careless insiders as one of the major security risks. So, the first step to decrease the insider threat is to raise the awareness of the problem. Lack of visibility into the user access and data activity is the biggest challenge in detecting insider threats. Implementing a transparent system which is capable of monitoring user authentication and data activity can definitely help to detect and defend against insider threats.

managing insider threat

You can consider these steps as an approach to mitigate insider threats

  • Include Insider Threat awareness and security training for all employees.
  • Starting from the hiring process, monitor and respond for suspicious behavior.
  • Implement strict password and account management policies and practices.
  • Use an authentication correlation engine or event management (SIEM) System to Log, Monitor, and Audit Employee Actions.
  • Develop a formalized insider threat program.
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