Insider threats refer to the risks posed by individuals within an organization who have authorized access to sensitive data, systems, or facilities, and may exploit their privileges for malicious purposes. Intentionally or not, insider threats can result in leaking valuable information such as trade secrets, employee information, customer data, and more.
There are clear red flags that suggest the potential presence of an insider threat within an organization such as unusual login behavior, unauthorized access to applications, and abnormal employee behavior. Therefore implementing an insider threat program is essential to identify these insider threat indicators and take proactive measures before falling victim to a malicious insider.
There are several attributes and factors that contribute to the potential for an individual within an organization to engage in malicious activities or exploit their privileged access for harmful purposes. Understanding these risk characteristics can help organizations identify and assess the likelihood and severity of insider threats. Here are some insider threat risk characteristics:
Individuals with elevated access rights and privileges are capable of causing more significant damage if they turn malicious.
Disgruntled employees who feel mistreated, undervalued, or unfairly treated are more likely to engage in malicious activities.
Employees facing financial difficulties might be tempted to engage in insider threats for monetary gain.
Employees who have connections to external parties, such as competitors or cybercriminals, could be persuaded or pressured to commit insider threats.
An insider threat can come from different sources, including current and former employees, business partners, contractors, and third-party vendors. While this type of cyber threats can be difficult to detect, there are several insider threat indicators that could be important for early detection and prevention. Some of the potential indicators are:
Although it’s crucial to approach this topic with sensitivity and not jump to conclusions, these indicators can help organizations identify potential internal cyber risks. Therefore, organizations should implement comprehensive security measures, establish clear policies, provide training for employees, and develop incident response plans to mitigate risks and rapidly respond if a threat is detected.