In an ideal world, businesses, enterprises and organizations wouldn’t have to worry about insider threats, but unfortunately we live in a world where insider threats are one of the biggest concerns, with 30% of cyber attacks taking place from insider the network.
An insider threat is defined by when a former or current employee, business partner or contractor who has had or currently has authorized access to the company’s network or data, uses their access to undermine the integrity and/or confidentiality of the network or data, either maliciously or accidentally. An insider threat can be anything from theft of intellectual property (IP), unauthorized trading, fraud, IT infrastructure sabotage and/or infiltration.
If a company has private data leaked or critical assets stolen or damaged, the impact can be catastrophic. Insider threats like the ones aforementioned can cause millions of dollars in damage and put the company’s reputation on the line. Regaining a customer’s trust is a company’s biggest challenge after a cyber attack, and unsurprisingly leading to further financial loss. After all, if you had your private data leaked after using a service, would you be inclined to use that service again? Probably not.
Many organisations have now implemented or are beginning to see the need for an ‘insider threat program’ in order to protect them from cyberattacks from within their own network. Not only does this kind of program include confidentiality agreements and training during employee onboarding, but in many cases it also includes employee activity and behavior monitoring and analytics. The demand for user behavior analytics (UBA) software and technology is now greater than ever, especially with such a high amount of private and confidential data now stored online and in the cloud.
Insider threats are not always malicious either; they can happen due to poor security hygiene, lack of training or simply put, an honest mistake. Implementing strict security rules can help lessen the probability of these types of threats, however human error does seem to trump all. It is for this reason so many organisations use UBA, so that if the software detects something going on and alert can be made and in some extreme cases, the desktop can be shut down remotely.
Stopping malicious insider threats can be a complex problem, but it can be done. Using a layered defense strategy including policies, protocol, technical controls and a response team, insider threats can be detected before the organisation’s reputation is hung out to dry.