An insider threat is a security risk that begins within the targeted organization. It can happen when someone close to an organization with authorized access misuses their access to impact the organization or their systems negatively. But this person may not even know what they are doing. Sometimes insider threats happen without the knowledge of the individual. Also, this person does not necessarily need to be an employee of the organization. They can be third party vendors, contractors, past employees, and or partners. Insiders that are employees are usually one of the following:
- Privileged users – IT team members or managers
- Analysts or Developers that have access to information
- High Executives
- Resigned or terminated employees
An insider threat can be malicious or negligent, and it can come from anyone who has authorized access to internal data or computer systems. These threats are often malicious but can also arise out of negligence. Today, more companies are taking notice of the risks that insiders can have on a company’s data security. While these breaches can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions, outsider threats are generally the threats that have been addressed with traditional security measures. It’s the threats that originate from inside that are much more difficult to prevent and detect using one-size-fits-all security measures. Let’s now discuss the difference between malicious insiders and negligent insiders.
Negligent Insiders – These are usually people who don’t have any malicious intent to attack an organization. But unfortunately, they unintentionally put their organization at risk through errors or by disregarding IT policies. Nearly two-thirds of insider threats are caused by users who introduce risk due to careless behaviour or human error. Human error is by far the number one way that someone gets hacked and how data is stolen. Hackers don’t try and bypass security technologies, instead, they rely on human mistakes, reusing passwords, and being too busy to check each email for signs of being a scam.
Malicious Insiders – Malicious insiders are employees or anyone granted internal access who take advantage of their authority with the intent of causing damage to an organization. For example, an individual who holds a grudge against a former employer, or an employee who sells secret information to a competitor. In this case, someone knowingly uses infrastructure or information to cause harm by gaining unauthorized access or abusing privileged accounts or general accounts. An individual may be motivated to gain unauthorized access or perform unauthorized actions.
But how can we prevent insider threats from occurring?
Many security systems are designed with a primary goal in mind – to prevent hackers from getting into the network. However, many security threats come from within the organization. These threats are hard to defend because they come from the people who have authorized access to the network and data and whose behaviour doesn’t set off red flags. Yet, insiders are capable of doing serious damage to the business. Implementing a data use policy that explains what employees may and may not do with the organization’s information, referring to security, privacy and management, can be very useful. Employees must be presented with this policy, trained, and educated on the protection and the consequences of breaking these rules. Another implementation that can be done to prevent insider threats is conducting frequent user account reviews. These reviews should watch for unnecessary accounts that were not disabled and for permissions assigned to accounts that are no longer necessary. Privileged accounts can be a major issue leading to insider attacks.
Implementing a Privileged Access Management strategy is also super beneficial. The protection of access to privileged accounts by PAM solution helps the organization reduce the risk of unauthorized access and reduces their vulnerability to cyberattacks by internal or external threats. Another great reason is increased productivity. A PAM solution allows users to log in faster to the systems they need and removes the burden of remembering a million passwords. It also allows the main user to easily manage privileged user access from one central location rather than visiting different systems. PAM is important for all companies that are growing or have a large IT system. CyberArk is the global leader in privileged access security, a critical layer of IT security to protect data, infrastructure, and assets across the enterprise, in the cloud, and throughout the DevOps pipeline. CyberArk delivers the industry’s most complete solution to reduce the risk created by privileged credentials and secrets. They are considered the leaders in Privileged Access Management globally, with having the most advanced technology on the market.
SEGMENTECH is an advanced CyberArk Certified Partner for professional services. We strongly recommend the implementation of CyberArk software for Privileged Access Management (PAM). Contact SEGMENTECH today if you want to discuss more why Privileged Access Management is a must-have solution.