Insider Threats – what are they and how much do they hurt?

 

As much as the world is working hard to make sure they are safe from all sides, there is always the threat of an internal loophole, a mole, to leak out such information and cause havoc.

This has been present in the online world for quite some time and this is the reason a lot of companies and other bodies have faced innumerable online attacks.

In the truest sense, an insider threat is basically a security risk originating from within the organization targeted for a cyber attack. It often involves either a former employee or an existing one,

or a business associate having access to either privileged accounts, sensitive information or privileg accounts within an organization’s network, and the way they all are misuse.

Typical traditional security measures just aren’t adequate enough. They often focus on external threats and are often not able to identify internal threats, coming from inside an organization.

What are the kinds of insider threats present?

Here are the following kinds of insider threats present in organizations today, as identified by experts in the industry:

Malicious Insider

A malicious insider is also know as a Turncloak. In easy words, they are people who maliciously and intentionally take wrongful advantage of legitimate credentials, typically to steal information either for personal purposes or for financial gains.

They have an advantage over other attackers because they are familiar with security policies and procedures of their organizations. Moreover, they even know what kind of vulnerabilities an organization is facing.

For instance, an individual who might hold a grudge against their former employer, or an employee seeing an opportunity to sell secret information to either a rival or a competitor, or a negative entity, for a wholesome incentive.

Careless Insider

They are basically innocent pawns who inadvertently expose the system to outside threats. They are the most common kind of insider threats and they often result from errors, like leaving a device open to others, or falling victim to a scam.

A good example would be a rule-abiding employee who has no intention to do any harm. However, they might accidentally click on an insecure link (working as a clickbait) which thus infects the system with malware.

Moles

They are basically imposters technically working as outsiders but have however managed to obtain insider access to a privileged network. They are basically individuals from outside an organization posing as either an employee or an organizational partner.

Indicators of malicious insider threats

Any unforeseen or untoward activity at the network level could indicate an internal threat. Likewise, if an employee appears to be unsatisfied with some organization issues or is holding a grudge,

or if any employee accepts more tasks with excessive enthusiasm, these things can be clear indicators of something wrong happening.

Insider threat indicators which can be tracked are as under:

  • Activity happening at odd times – a fine example would be someone signing in the company network at 3am or another odd time or on a holiday when no one is expecting such.
  • The volume of traffic – transferring a lot of data through the network without any legitimate purpose.
  • The kind of activity happening – accessing unusual resources at unusual timings and intervals.

Best practices for protection against Insider Threats

Here are some best practices recommended by experts working at a well-known DDoS Protection Service provider based in North York:

Protection of critical assets

These assets can be logical or physical, and among them are systems, other technology, facilities, intellectual patents, people and the like.

Moreover, intellectual property like customer data for vendors, proprietary software, schematics, internal processes for manufacturing/production/development/research and vice versa are also part of any organization’s critical assets.

Proper enforcement of cybersecurity and other organizational policies

Clearly documenting such policies is needed, and enforcing them is a must to prevent any and all misunderstandings. Each employee in the firm should be familiar with the security procedures. Also, they must understand their rights related to Intellectual property (IP) protection so they do not share privileged content they have made.

Raising the viability of security protection

Firms must deploy robust solutions to keep track of employee actions along with correlating information from multiple data sources. For instance, firms can make use of deception technology to lure malicious insiders or imposters and be able to see what they are doing, so they can be caught right on time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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