Insider attacks, the threat within
External threats such as malware attacks, hacking, denial-of-service attacks and ransomware are not the only threats to cybersecurity. Insider attacks come from employees who are intentionally or inadvertently causing corporate data breaches and leaks.
Loss of credentials due to phishing, theft, or even carelessness invites malware into the system when an employee clicks on a link in a spam email or unknowingly brings an infected device to work. This doesn’t include honest mistakes like sending sensitive files to the wrong email address. All of these are only a small list of ways in which your own employees can inadvertently compromise your data. Besides being a security risk it can also cost your company money. DTI forensic specialists have handled many of these situations over the years and by conducting a deep forensic analysis you can also learn to avoid some of the common hurdles.
Reasons insider attacks are hard to combat:
- Insider threats can go undetected for years.
- It is hard to distinguish harmful actions from regular work.
- Its easier for employees to cover their actions.
- It is sometimes hard to prove guilt.
Potential Insider Threats:
- Privileged users: These are the most trusted users in a company and they have the most opportunities to misuse the data, both intentionally and unintentionally.
- Third Parties: Remote employees, subcontractors, third-party vendors and partners all usually have access to your system.
- Terminated Employees: Similar to the case mentioned earlier, employees can take data with them when terminated.
Common Causes of Insider Threats:
- Acting on opportunity
- Taking revenge for perceived injustice
- Making a statement
- Doing competitors bidding
- Seeing themselves as a future competition
Preventing Insider Threats
Background checks: The most basic thing you can do is to thoroughly research your employees as you hire them. Background checks don’t need to be complicated; a simple Google search of their name or look at their social network profiles,. You can also make a call to their previous employers and get you all the info you need.
Observe Employee Behavior: If your employees are unhappy, it is a good sign that they may try something. Try to reach out to them and understand why they aren’t happy. If you fix the problem, you may save yourself a lot of troubles and garner their respect and gratitude.
Principle of Least Privilege: The fewer privileged employees you have, the easier it is to protect your data.
Control User Access: Strong account protection can defend against both outsider and insider threats alike. There are several rules when it comes to protecting your sensitive information:
- Your employees should use unique complex passwords and keep them private.
- Prohibit credential sharing between employees and limit the use of shared accounts as much as possible.
- Use two-factor authentication.
Monitor User Actions: The crown jewel of your insider threat detection and prevention arsenal is user action monitoring software. User action monitoring software is very simple to use. It provides video recording of all user sessions that your security specialists can review in order to clearly see what users have done with your data. Many of these types of solutions also provide access control and incident response capabilities. Monitoring software can also provide employers with concrete evidence to be used in court.