Insider threats to company security come in many forms. They might be malicious, accidental, or simply due to negligence. Regardless of the intentions of the insider, the result is always the same – data leakage that puts the company at risk. To make things worse, insiders usually have access to a lot of sensitive data and they know how the security systems work, which makes them even more dangerous. That’s why companies need to be aware of the different types of insider threats and have measures in place to prevent them.
Here are some of the most common insider threats in cyber security.
1. Accidental or malicious leaks: This is the most common type of insider threat, and it happens when someone accidentally or maliciously discloses confidential information. It could be due to carelessness, accidental deletion of data, or intentional communication of confidential information to someone who shouldn’t have it. For example, an employee mistakenly emails an outsider confidential information.
2. Corruption. Insider threats can also come from people who have the intent to benefit themselves financially by sharing or selling confidential information. They might do this by persuading other employees to leak information, by compromising the security system, or by any other means.
3. Manipulative disclosures. Sometimes, insiders deliberately try to harm the company by leaking confidential information. It could be done for financial gain, to discredit the company, or to cause physical damage.
3. Negligent disclosures. It occurs when employees do not take proper precautions to protect their information. For example, employees not encrypting their files, or they might leave their laptop unattended in a public area.
4. Disgruntled ex-employees. When employees leave the company on bad terms, they might try to take revenge by leaking confidential information. They might also try to sabotage the company’s systems or damage its reputation. This type of insider threat is often the hardest to prevent because ex-employees usually have a lot of knowledge about the company’s systems and procedures. That’s why it’s important to have measures and strict policies in place for what employees can do with confidential information after they leave the company.
5. Reckless third parties. Sometimes, outsiders who don’t have any connection with the company try to exploit its vulnerabilities for their gain. It could be done using brute force attacks, malware infections, or social engineering scams. Companies need to be especially careful of third parties who they don’t know or trust. They should keep an eye out for suspicious activities and always verify the identity of anyone who requests access to their systems. In addition, companies should have a policy in place for how they will respond when they discover that a third party is exploiting their systems. For example, they might decide to inform the authorities, terminate the relationship with the third party, or take other measures to protect their data.
6. Inside agent/mole. In recent years, cyberattacks have become more sophisticated, and attackers have started using employees or agents who work within the company as part of their attack chain. These employees or agents are known as “insider agents” and they can help the attacker carry out different types of attacks. For example, an insider agent could help the attacker gain access to sensitive data, launch sophisticated attacks against other systems, or break into the company’s systems. Because insider agents are usually well-informed about the company’s operations, it’s difficult to detect them and protect against their attacks.
Insider threats are a common problem in cyber security and they can be difficult to prevent. However, careful management and monitoring of employee activities, strong policies and procedures for handling confidential information after employees leave the company, are essential for protecting against these threats.