Insider Threat to Data Security Is Scary – Yet Easy To Tackle

Michelle Rossevelt

Security Awareness, Security Solutions, Security Tales

Insider Threat to Data Security is Scary—Yet Easy to Tackle
Insider Threat to Data Security is Scary—Yet Easy to Tackle

Everyone thinks that their business data is at the target of cyber criminals and other crooks outside their organization. But, the fact is that the threat imposed from the employees of the organization to its data is greater than any other threat outside the company. Data can be breached through the insider sources intentionally or unintentionally, means employees can steal confidential data to fulfil some purpose or can just accidentally leak it. To know the severity of the insider threat, Ponemon Institute and Symantec conducted a survey that was based on a sample size of 3,500 employees

The survey revealed that out of these 3,500 employees, almost 50 percent of them were habitual of emailing their official data to their personal accounts on a daily basis. Some of them confessed that they have been using unapproved file sharing apps to transfer the information and nearly 40 percent of the sample size revealed that they used to carry official data in potable drives. It is not necessary that employees transfer records with mal intentions, it is just because the lack of awareness and education in employees regarding data security. The employees have a perception that the data on which they are working on belongs to them.

Insider Threat to Data Security
Insider Threat to Data Security

Employees of a company can steal or carry data away through a number of mediums, but, the most common of all is portable drive. A portable drive such as USB flash drive that is small and has the extreme capability of storing large amount of data is quite handy for such purposes. If you do not want your employees to take company’s official data with them, you can use USB Block that can block all the portable drives from operation. The use of the new principle BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has made even easier for the employees to take data away and that has boosted the chances of data of breaches.

Not so long ago, the world witnessed a case of data breach that shook the National Security Agency. Edward Snowden, who was a CIA employed computer specialist and NSA contractor took some of the extremely sensitive data from NSA system and disclosed it before the world. He was equipped with an orthodox USB drive that acted as a lethal weapon for him. It was just an example of how easy it is to steal organization’s data for an employee. Another survey was conducted in the LogRhythm (a security provider), Nearly 440 employees out of 1,000 said that they trust their colleagues, however, almost 37 percent of them doubted that their fellows might be involved in some kind of unrespectable activity such as data theft.

The reason behind the increasing number of data breaches is not due to some of kind of greed or intention to rip the company apart, but, the main reason behind it is just the unawareness about data security issues and data ownership principles. According to the study carried out by Forrester, only 42 percent of the people who were questioned answered that they had some training related to data security, however, more than 55 percent of them did not know what is their company’s policy regarding data security. Your data is at the risk of getting breached is merely because of your negligence. You can easily make your data secure by just taking some easy and effective security measures and educating your staff.

Describing An Insider Threat

An insider threat is a security risk posed by someone inside an organization with access to confidential or sensitive data, such as an employee or a contractor. They may use their access to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information or data, or to disrupt operations.

Cyber Threat So Difficult To Identify And Stop

Insider cyber threats are difficult to identify and stop because they often originate from within an organization and are difficult to detect and prevent. Insider threats can be difficult to identify because they are often not visible to the outside world and can be hard to detect. Additionally, insiders often have access to sensitive information and may be able to use this information to gain access to systems and networks. Furthermore, insiders may have the ability to bypass security measures and can be difficult to stop.

Types Of Insider Threats

1. Malicious Insider Threats: These are intentional threats from insiders who use their access to systems and networks to steal data, disrupt operations, or damage the organization.

2. Accidental Insider Threats: These are unintentional threats from insiders who unintentionally cause harm to the organization due to their lack of knowledge or understanding of security protocols.

Impact Could Insider Threats Have On Company

Insider threats can have a serious impact on a company, ranging from financial losses due to theft or fraud to data breaches that can cause reputational damage and loss of customer trust. Additionally, insider threats can lead to operational disruption and costly downtime, as well as increased vulnerability to external attacks.

Difficulty To Protect Against A Possible Insider Threat

IT is difficult to protect against an insider threat because it is often hard to identify and detect malicious activity from an insider. Insiders often have access to sensitive information, and they may be able to bypass security protocols and controls. Additionally, insiders may be able to use their knowledge of the system to their advantage, making it difficult to detect their activities.

Ways To Prevent Insider Threats

Insider threats can be prevented through a combination of technical, physical, and administrative security measures. Technical measures include using strong authentication, encryption, and access control measures. Physical measures include restricting access to sensitive areas and monitoring user activity. Administrative measures include implementing policies and procedures to address insider threats, such as employee background checks, periodic security reviews, and training.

Reasons For Insider Attacks

Insider attacks are caused by employees or other individuals with legitimate access to a company’s systems and data. These individuals can use their access to maliciously damage or steal data, or even disrupt operations. To prevent such attacks, organizations should implement a strong security program that includes technical, physical, and administrative measures. Technical measures such as strong authentication, encryption, and access control measures can help protect against unauthorized access.

Effective Strategy For Protecting Against An Insider Threat

A) Implementing a comprehensive security awareness program for all employees.

B) Limiting access to critical systems and data to only authorized personnel.

C) Installing anti-malware and firewalls on all systems.

D) Monitoring user activity and logging all system access.

Example Of An Insider Threat

A former employee who continues to access the company’s networks and systems without authorization and uses the information to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

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