17413 107 Ave NW #100, Edmonton, AB

“The Call is Coming from Inside the House”: Why Employees are Your Biggest Insider Threat

Decorative (Insider Threat)

In today’s ever-evolving threat landscape, merely mitigating external cybersecurity threats is no longer sufficient. Insider threats, which can be just as devastating as external attacks, are often inadequately tracked and managed by businesses. Given that human error and malicious insider behavior are involved in the majority of breaches, it is imperative to have a robust plan to combat these increasingly rampant threats.

Insider threats stem from within an organization and can take the form of either malicious insiders or well-meaning employees who unwittingly compromise security. To address these threats effectively, it is crucial to distinguish between those who are malicious or disgruntled and those who simply made a mistake.

 

Malicious or Disgruntled Insiders

Malicious insiders and disgruntled employees intentionally compromise security for personal gain, revenge, or other harmful motives. These insiders can cause significant damage due to their knowledge of the company’s systems and access privileges.

  • Malicious Insiders: These individuals use their access to steal or misuse sensitive information. Their actions are often driven by financial gain, revenge, or competitive advantage.
  • Disgruntled Insiders: Employees who intentionally disrupt operations or destroy data due to dissatisfaction. Common triggers include poor performance reviews, feeling ignored, or leaving the company on bad terms.

Common Behaviors and Risks:

  • Expressing Dissatisfaction: Employees unhappy with performance reviews or feeling ignored by management may harbor resentment that leads to malicious actions.
  • Feeling Unequal or Ignored: Employees who feel overlooked or marginalized by their peers might engage in destructive behaviors as a form of retaliation.
  • Job Dissatisfaction: Employees feeling stuck or unfulfilled in their roles may act out in ways that harm the company.
  • Abrupt Departure: Employees leaving the company unexpectedly can pose a threat if they decide to take sensitive information or disrupt systems as they exit.

Consequences of Malicious Insider Threats:

  • Exfiltration of Business Data: Stealing data before leaving for a competitor.
  • Deletion of Critical Data: Removing important information or evidence.
  • Exposure of Sensitive Information: Leaking customer data, intellectual property, or confidential business information.
  • Damage to Systems: Sabotaging digital or physical infrastructure.

Real-World Examples:

  • Law Firm Incident: Lawyers stole sensitive files to aid a competing firm, resulting in the victim firm losing a substantial amount of correspondence, pleadings, and client data, leading to the closure of the affected office.
  • Hospital Data Leak: A former hospital employee leaked private patient data, forcing the hospital to provide additional services like free credit monitoring to affected patients.

Defense Against Malicious and Disgruntled Insiders:

  • Insider Threat Defense Plan: Define abnormal behaviors and set alerts for digital signs of insider threats. Limit access to critical data and provide unique credentials for those who need it. Regularly review access permissions and adjust them as necessary.
  • Behavioral Analytics: Utilize machine learning and AI to analyze user behavior and identify anomalies that may indicate insider threats.
  • Privileged Access Management (PAM): Control and monitor the access of privileged users to critical systems and data. PAM solutions can enforce the principle of least privilege, ensuring users only have access to the information necessary for their roles.

 

 

Negligent Insiders

Negligent insiders are employees who unintentionally compromise security through errors or lack of awareness. These insiders do not have malicious intent but can still cause significant harm.

Common Behaviors and Risks:

  • Clicking on Phishing Links: Employees may fall victim to phishing scams.
  • Downloading Suspicious Attachments: Opening attachments from untrusted sources.
  • Browsing Malicious Websites: Accessing illegitimate websites using work computers.
  • Using Weak Passwords: Poor password practices.
  • Misdirected Emails: Sending sensitive information to unintended recipients.

Consequences of Negligent Insider Threats:

  • Accidental Data Leaks: Sensitive information may be inadvertently exposed to unauthorized parties.
  • Introduction of Malware: Downloading of malware can compromise the entire network.
  • Phishing Attacks: Falling for phishing schemes can lead to credential theft and unauthorized access.
  • Operational Disruptions: Accidental actions may disrupt normal business operations.

Defense Against Negligent Insiders:

  • Employee Training: Train employees to recognize and respond to cyber threats. Establish clear policies on device usage, passwords, and remote working. Conduct regular training sessions to keep employees updated on the latest threats and best practices.
  • Data Loss Prevention: Implement data loss prevention solutions to monitor and control data transfer within and outside the organization. These tools can prevent unauthorized access and exfiltration of sensitive data.
  • User and Entity Behavior Analytics: User and entity behavior analytics  solutions help in understanding normal user behavior patterns and detecting deviations that could indicate potential threats.

 

Implementing Advanced Security Measures

In addition to the strategies mentioned, implementing advanced security measures can further protect your business:

  • Regular Data Backups: Ensure critical data is backed up regularly and stored securely. Test backups for integrity to ensure quick recovery in case of a breach.
  • Monitoring Digital Signs: Keep an eye on unusual data downloads, high bandwidth consumption, traffic from unknown sources, or unauthorized use of storage devices. Implement advanced analytics and monitoring tools to detect these signs early.

There has never been a better time to fortify IT security and devise a contingency plan for insider threats. Implementing robust security measures such as stricter access management, ongoing risk assessment, and comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solutions will significantly enhance your defenses. Protecting your business-critical data from insider threats is not just about mitigating risks but ensuring the longevity and stability of your business in a digital age. By staying vigilant and proactive, you can safeguard your organization from the inside out.

 

 

Read more about our other projects and applications here!

Like what you see? Follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter.

Framewerx Projects
Shopwerx in Acheson, AB
Real-time usage in the field

Our client-facing steel progression web application: Shopwerx, used by one of our client’s workers. 

Client Testimonials
Steve Brittain
Steve Brittain
Municipal Manager, Select Engineering Consultants
Read More
Dan and his team have been able to meet all Select Engineering challenges with minimal disruption to the business; from fast access to corporate resources thanks to our DaaS solution, to collaborating with internal and external parties utilizing our manager VoIP phone system or accessing SaaS solutions using the fully integrated security solutions.
 Daniel Elliot
Daniel Elliot
Operations Lead, Omni-McCann Geoscience
Read More
Framewerx rescued my company from obsolete digital file management and brought us into the 21st century with cloud services in an efficient manner. Kalyn and his team at Framewerx were able to provide solutions for merging two corporate entities with vastly different digital file management and email servers in a seamless manner while providing top quality support during and after the transition to all employees. They provided training so that everyone understood new operating protocols and software changes. Framewerx has been very responsive and has always been keen to work with us to understand our business, IT needs, and financial restrictions. We continue to work with Framewerx for all of our IT, phone system, and data storage needs.
 Karim Mouait
Karim Mouait
Vice President, Cornerstone Insurance Brokers Ltd
Read More
We used Framewerx to transition our traditional office to a virtual one. This included VOIP, call recording, video conferencing, VPN, remote working from home accommodations etc. Dan and his team did a fantastic job. They are extremely responsive and client service oriented.
 Kimberly Maber
Kimberly MaberManaging Partner, Brunsdon Lawrek & Associates
Read More
I have worked with Kalyn and his team for many years. He has readily handled all of our IT needs, from designing our IT strategy to our day to day computing requirements and support. Kalyn takes the time to listen to and understand our needs, delivering cost-effective and innovative IT solutions for our small business. I highly recommend working with Kalyn at Framewerx.
Services we provide

Inventory Management

Inventory Count Tool

Enhance inventory auditing and future reconciliation efforts with a versatile mobile and web-based application.

Fabrication & Progression Management

Shopwerx

Efficiently oversee and optimize the fabrication process of steel components, meticulously tracking and managing the progression of fabrication tasks from staging, prep assembly, welding, QAQC, all the way to shipping.