Updated: May 23
Insider threats to your business come in two flavours: Malicious insiders who intentionally harm the organisation, and unintentional insiders who unknowingly put the company at risk through careless actions.
Malicious insiders can have various motivations, including:
Financial gain: Some insiders may seek to profit from selling sensitive information, such as company secrets or customer data.
Revenge: Disgruntled employees may want to get back at the company for perceived slights or injustices.
Ideology: In some cases, insiders may be motivated by political, religious, or social beliefs that lead them to take actions they think are justified.
Espionage: Occasionally, an insider may be working on behalf of a competitor, foreign government, or other organisation seeking to gain an advantage.
Some well-known examples of insider attacks include:
Edward Snowden, who leaked classified National Security Agency documents in 2013, revealed mass surveillance practices.
The Tesla sabotage case in 2018, where an employee altered the company's system code and leaked sensitive data.
Now that we have a better understanding of insider threats, let's dive into our 10 simple tips to tackle them:
Spread the knowledge 📚
Education is the first line of defence. Host regular training sessions, and workshops, and provide resources to help employees understand cyber security best practices, how to recognise threats, and report suspicious activities.
Access control is your friend 🔐
Implement a policy of least privilege. Only grant employees access to information and systems necessary for their role. Regularly review and adjust access permissions to maintain tight control over sensitive data.
Keep an eye on things 👀
Utilise user activity monitoring software to detect unusual behaviour or unauthorised access attempts. Early detection can help prevent extensive damage and data breaches.
Background checks matter 🔎
Thoroughly vet potential employees, especially those in sensitive positions. Check for criminal records, verify references, and look for any red flags that could signal a potential insider threat.
Encourage a security-conscious culture 🚨
Foster open communication and emphasise the importance of reporting any suspicious activity. Make it clear that everyone plays a role in maintaining the organisation's security and that reporting concerns is encouraged, not frowned upon.
Have a plan, just in case 🗒️
Prepare a detailed incident response plan that outlines the steps to take if an insider threat is detected. Having a plan in place can minimise damage and ensure a swift, coordinated response.
Keep software up to date ⏰
Regularly patch and update software, operating systems, and firmware. Outdated software can leave your organisation vulnerable to both insider and external threats.
Regular audits are a must ✔️
Conduct comprehensive security audits to identify weak points in your infrastructure, access controls, and policies. Continually improving your security posture helps to deter would-be attackers.
Tighten up remote access 🌐
Ensure remote access is secure by implementing strong authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication, and monitoring remote user activity. This is particularly important as remote work becomes more common.
Don't forget to terminate access 🚫
And last but not least, when an employee leaves the company, promptly revoke their access to company systems, accounts, and sensitive information. This helps prevent unauthorised access and potential misuse of data.
And there you have it – an overview of insider threats and 10 simple tips to help you prevent and mitigate these risks. By following these steps, you'll create a safer, more secure environment for your organisation from threat actors outside and within!!
Get in touch for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org