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6 Jan 2022

3 insider threats to be aware of and how to prevent them

Security professionals are quick to shift the focus of cyber threats caused by external sources. But there’s just as much as stake in terms of threats that stem from right inside your company. It’s important to not forget just how many users have access to your network, applications and data.  The more users, the more challenging it is to control your security and keep your assets protected.

Let’s dive right into the types of insider threats that could be a threat to your business.


Negligent employees

84%% of data breaches involving any insiders are mostly down to unintentional errors. Although unintentional, it’s still a risk that your business doesn’t need and most of the time it’s down to basic mistakes that can be avoided.

Let’s say for example leaving an device unattended which then gets stolen. This wasn’t done out of malice, but with some careful attention this could have been avoided. We would personally include scenarios into your security awareness training, it might be basic, but these things happen and employees should be aware of the repercussions.


Malicious insiders

 Malicious insiders, (also known as a turncloak) are people that have malicious intent to steal information, abuse credentials and disrupt operations for financial or personal reasons. Either your employee is looking for a way to pass on information to competitors for financial gains, or they could have a grudge against your business for various reasons. They might not be attackers, but they do have a key advantage in being successful if they know about your security policies, procedures and vulnerabilities.


Compromised insiders

 It’s safe to say we’re all aware of the rise in phishing and ransomware attempts as of a result of the pandemic, and the trend has continued, nor is it going to disappear anytime soon!  A compromised account through various cyber-attacks is just another insider that could be a threat to your business. Obviously it goes without saying that whilst this isn’t an intentional means, it simply comes down to ignorant. And that’s because employees aren’t sourced with the right knowledge to take informed decision when coming across something suspicious.

The best way to avoid it even getting this to stage is to equip your workforce with regular cyber security awareness training. What they don’t know will be a risk to your business, but with the right knowledge, your employees can take actionable steps to prevent a threat.


Preventing insider threats

1) Understand who your employees and 3rd parties are

It’s important to understand that each of your employees may have access to different types of assets, this would ultimately depend on their job functions. The first step would be to figure out what that access type is. Certain types of files, applications etc only need to be accessed by a minority, so use those security configurations and lock away what’s not for everyone’s eyes!

2) Understand your critical assets

Have you thought about conducting an asset inventory to identify your critical assets? If not then it’s probably time to determine these and then think about access controls and training around these assets.

3) Constant monitoring and engagement

Security awareness training is something we’ve already mentioned, but along with that your business should be investing in risk assessments and consistent network monitoring. This will ensure that threats are being analysed and can be prevented from the beginning.

For more information on insider threats, contact our cyber security experts today.

By OryxAlign