Did you know that one-third of all businesses (34%) are impacted by insider threats every year? Did you know that 66% of organizations consider malicious insider attacks or accidental breaches more likely than external attacks. Did you know that US businesses encounter 2500 internal security breaches every day? Insider threat statistics shows that 70% of insider attacks are not even reported externally. The number of insider attacks has increased by 47% in the last couple of years.
The average cost of a data breach has reached $3.92 million. Cybersecurity experts predict that global spending on information security could surpass the $124 billion mark. The longer an insider attack takes to be resolved, the more it will cost. On an average, insider threats that last for more than three months will cost you $13.7 million while threats which are mitigated within a month could cost you $7.12 million.
These are shocking numbers but despite this, most businesses do not take insider threats seriously which is ironic to say the least. To keep your data safe from internal data breaches, you will first have to understand different types of insiders that launch insider threats. This will allow you to identify which type of insider is behind internal data breaches.
In this article, you will learn about five types of insiders your business should be aware of to stop data breaches.
- Malicious Insider
Malicious insiders are one of the most common and most dangerous types of insider. Malicious insiders try to steal sensitive business data to fulfil their malicious designs. When analyzed critically, they are usually found to be second streamers or people who are looking for financial rewards to supplement their income.
The good news is that only a handful of them have access to sensitive data stored on best dedicated servers or databases or are in leadership roles. Due to this, they are less likely to steal sensitive information but that does not mean that you should ignore them. These threat actors usually try their best to go unnoticed when conducting a malicious act. Due to this, they are more likely to steal data slowly in stages, so they do not get caught. This allows them to fool traditional network monitoring tools which tend to raise the red flag when they detect suspicious activity.
- Insider Collusion
In some cases, insiders are not alone. They partner with external threat actors or external threat actors reach out to them to conduct a criminal act. When analyzed insider-outsider collaboration usually resulted in different types of incidents. Some involved intellectual property theft while others involved fraud and a small percentage also involved both fraud and theft at the same time.
Christy Wyatt, CEO, Dtex System summed it up brilliantly when she said, “While malicious users are always looking for new ways to defy security controls, not all internal risk comes from bad intent. Trusted employees don’t always understand when they are engaged in damaging activities and can fall prey to bad actors looking to steal their credentials. The lack of visibility into all types of user behaviors is creating employee-driven vulnerability problems for every business,”
She further adds, “Organizations have to secure data, neutralize risky behaviors and protect trusted employees against attacks and their own errors. To accomplish all of this, they have to see how their people are behaving and have a mechanism that provides alerts when things go wrong.”
Even though insider collusion might not seem like a big threat on paper, it can prove to be the most costlier insider threat and takes the longest time to fix. They are much more difficult to detect as compared to data breaches involving solo threat actors. That is why it is important for businesses to take these types of insider threat more seriously.
- Unintentional Insider
Inadvertent insiders include employees who make mistakes unintentionally or do not respond to training. This type of insider might surprise you with their policy compliance and show normal behavior. They might take advantage of an isolated loophole that is exposed and have not been patched for a long time. Falling for phishing schemes and storing copyright intellectual property on insecure devices are two of the most common examples of tactics these insiders use to fool people.
Here are three other tactics inadvertent insiders use:
- Persuading users to click on a malicious link
- Man in the middle attack
- Exploit misconfigured servers
- Unhappy Employees
Disgruntled employees usually indulge in intellectual property theft and steal data deliberately after they have either been fired or leaving the organization. Businesses need to keep a close eye on employees who have been fired or have resigned from their positions recently but still have access to accounts and other business data. Ask them to handover the username and passwords of all the accounts they use before leaving. It is important for organizations to prevent older employers from accessing business data.
Most of these employees want to vent their frustration and take revenge from the organization. For this purpose, they start their efforts to gain information access. Some might even try to steal trade secrets from competitors just before leaving the organization. They want to hurt the organization and are ready to go to any level to achieve that goal.
We have talked about every type of insider except one, non-responders. They might be small in numbers, but you cannot afford to ignore them. These types of insiders never give a positive response when it comes to cybersecurity training and awareness programs. This negligence and callous behavior on their part make them more vulnerable to social engineering attacks such as phishing attacks. It is important for businesses to convince non responders to actively participate in these cybersecurity training sessions. You can do that by telling them how it can benefit them and protect them from different types of social engineering attacks.
How do you neutralize insider threats? Share your method with us in the comments section below.