Home  /  Resources  /  Blog  /  Security  /  How to Deal With Insider Threats In Cyber Security
A man in a suit and tie holding a piece of paper.

How to Deal With Insider Threats In Cyber Security

Most new companies implement IT networks and engineering tools to streamline their intellectual property and data storage, seamlessly accommodate customer inquiries and requests, and ensure overall business continuity.

Any business must report and detect potential insider hazards, protect against insider threats, and safeguard its mission-critical systems in these modern times. Only so can it prevent critical actions in the form of cyberattacks from within and outside the enterprise.

Understanding Insider Cyber Threats in a Nut Shell

Malicious insider threats are carried out within an organization by threat actors who have authorized access to the organization’s network critical assets, database, and applications. 

An imposter posing as a former employee, a contractor, a partner within the business, or any temporary worker might have malicious intent. However, only former employees and contractors with legitimate access to the company’s products, services, and online and offline assets are considered insider threats. The risk of insider malignant attacks can also pose a significant malicious insider threat in the form of jeopardized service accounts.

Why should businesses prepare for potential insider threats and security solutions?

That’s a good question but there’s not a single answer, as the motivation behind cyberattacks carried out by authentic users may vary. For example, malicious insiders may intend to steal your company’s valuable data, share sensitive information, and sell it to your competitor for a hefty financial gain.

Similarly, insider threats include the intention to dismantle your business operations through systematic espionage.

Moreover, it could also be carried out as a brutal form of retaliation by a former disgruntled employee.

Whichever the reason behind insider threats, they can easily become a reality because of poorly managed or implemented security systems or an exposed access point. While these types of security threats are more prevalent in specific industries such as healthcare, finance, or federal institutions, they can compromise the overall security of any type of company, whether big, small, or medium-sized.

Types of Insider Cyber Security Complications

An Embedded Bad Actor

Examples of insider threats can typically involve an employee or contractor who has a badge or access to your network database and digital assets and plans on intentionally disrupting your business operations. These privileged access attacks are based on opportunity and reward, plus a lack of security awareness.

The malicious individual will look for ways to discreetly steal your information, trade secrets, and sell them to willing buyers on the dark web or your competitors. However, the threat actor may also do this as a fast-track budget and performance way of manipulating your system for their career-oriented gains. Moreover, it may be a current or former angry worker who has been let go, wants to exact revenge, and is now looking for ways to hurt your reputation and bottom line in one fell swoop. 

A good example is the case of data theft perpetrated by ex-Apple engineers who stole the company’s data about autonomous systems earlier in 2023. They were caught and convicted. Investigations revealed that the ex-engineers planned on selling the information to a technology company in China.

Insider Threats Caused by Negligence

Insider cyber security threats can also be caused by sheer procedural negligence. For instance, your employee may be too carefree when it comes to leaving their personal computer or other devices without signing out – a clear breach of security protocols. Similarly, an IT administrator can be just as ignorant, continuously putting off changing the default password to your data mainframe or neglecting to update a necessary security patch.

All of these things can cause a bad actor or hacker to gain easy control of your manufacturing or business network resources and steal your data. Examples include a massive data breach that occurred in 2006 when a data analyst took a hard drive of the company (illegally) with the information of more than 26 million military veterans of the United States. The hard drive was stolen in a subsequent home burglary, and all data was leaked online.

Should You Be Concerned as a Business Owner?

Absolutely. Insider cyber security internal or external threats should be a considerable concern for all types of businesses, as they can cause massive data breaches, compromise customer information, reveal company secrets and critical data, and much more.

Things You Can Do to Prevent Cyber Security Complications

Insider threats can deal a deadly financial blow to any type of company. Not to mention, they may also destroy your reputation. You’d be surprised to know that from 2020 to 2022, reports reveal a 43%+ increase in the number of insider cyber security attacks. They are also the predominant cause of information breaches (up to 60%).

So, how can you keep your organization safe?

Protect critical assets and resources

To protect your organization and detect insider threats, you need to implement a thorough and precision-based inventory of your online and offline assets via your IT infrastructure. Your inventory should comprise onsite resources along with all the data stored on the cloud ecosystem. In addition, ensure that you’re using cutting-edge intrusion detection systems to continuously monitor external threats and secure mission-critical or sensitive information.

Your data and assets should also be categorized. This way, they can be accessed more efficiently and with more oversight. Plus, access to critical data network assets or resources should only be given to vetted and authorized individuals who need access to perform their daily tasks.

Furthermore, if it becomes necessary to share the access with other employees, reduce the risk. Detect an insider threat by maintaining a sophisticated IAM (identity and access management) system, that tracks access and restricts it to only those who are authorized and no one else.

Create an Inclusive Data Management Protocol

You should also implement a comprehensive data management policy that comprises data and information that has been thoroughly categorized, marked, and identified. Your security protocol must clearly mention who the authorized employee and contractor are and the types of data resources they have access to. Also, include when and from where they are going to access the network. Anyone caught violating these policies must immediately be subjected to data breach investigations. If found guilty of acting maliciously, they should be subjected to legal action.

Provide your teams with the necessary Security Awareness Training

While insider cyber security threats typically involve bad actors operating within the business, you may minimize the incidences of a security breach by malicious employees or contractors by providing your security teams with the right data security training and highlighting the point of risk management.

Thus, train your employees on insider threat programs to responsibly carry out their roles in protecting the company’s digital assets, supply chain, and resources.

This can help you substantially reduce the risk of data negligence, further minimizing any risks of insider cyber security harm. Teach your trustworthy workers how to adhere to cybersecurity industry best practices, ensuring they make no mistakes while managing data. At the same time, this training can be used as a trap for potentially malicious employees, who will try their best to sidestep their training, thereby exposing themselves.

Constantly track your systems to identify insider threat factors

Understand that insiders may constantly and deliberately attempt to subvert the cyber security of your company to destroy its reputation from the inside over extended periods. However, with the necessary support program, checks, and balances put into place, you’ll be able to quickly weed out these bad actors whenever they try to commit any suspicious or unnecessary user behavior.

By preemptively carrying out company-level investigations into suspicious activities in your organization’s IT ecosystem, you can easily eliminate or reduce the risks posed by malicious parties, keeping your sensitive data and files airtight.

Certain indicators of potential insider threats in cyber security can point at a suspicious employee making a move against you. These include:

  • Dubious login activity at unreasonable hours or constant attempts to gain access to classified systems.
  • Consistent efforts to access sensitive data or network applications.
  • Irrational or unreasonable download activity that may point to an attempt to breach sensitive data.

Put a Data Loss Prevention Protocol in Place

A data loss prevention protocol lets you identify and eliminate different types of insider cyber security threats by automating your company’s data handling policies. This puts up a powerful barrier to block bad actors from “accidentally” attempting to log in to your critical network security resources. It thus reduces the risk of a malicious employee staging a mishandling of your resources.

Why Businesses Choose Corporate Technologies to Manage Insider Threats to Their Cyber Security

At Corporate Technologies, we implement state-of-the-art threat detection algorithms to evaluate and keep track of your employees’ digital footprint across a variety of different data systems.

Our threat identification and elimination solution continuously tracks any suspicious activities, keeping a bird’s eye view for any signs of suspicious activity such as an illegal attempt to breach your company’s mission-critical data outside of business hours – a process that is notoriously difficult to detect.

Our comprehensive security platform is also consistently on the lookout for bad actors who are attempting to download and export classified files. Our cyber security services fortify your current security ecosystem, preventing any internal or external threat from stealing your data.

How businesses can benefit from our avant-garde Insider Threat Detection Platform

We can help your business stay safe from insider threats by:

  • Giving you a 360-degree barrier against a slew of different types of insider threats.
  • Quickly identifying lateral movement of cyberattack via email from one malicious user to another internal or external user.
  • Automatically filtering emails that may contain potentially damaging insider threat indicators.
  • Determining and stopping a potential malware attack or breach, thus preventing it from spreading across your company’s IT infrastructure.

Eager to learn more? Contact us today and take the first step toward safeguarding your company!

Read more blog posts

Interested In Pricing? Have a Question? Talk to an Expert Today!

IT Services Near Me