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What Is an Insider Attack? How to Be Safe From Them?

Sheikh Islam is a technology writer. He mainly writes on cybersecurity and business security topics. He loves to read recent tech blogs.

Insider Threat Attacks Prevention Best Practices


An insider threat is a security risk that originates within the company under attack. It usually includes a current or former employee or business colleague who has privileged access to sensitive information or accounts within an organization's network and abuses that access.

Traditional security solutions are often focused on external threats and are incapable of detecting internal dangers emerging from within the business.

Types of Insider Threats:

Malicious Insiders:

Someone who deliberately and willfully abuses valid credentials, usually to steal information for financial or personal gain, is known as a Turncloak. For example, a former employee with a vendetta against them, or an opportunistic employee who sells confidential knowledge to a competitor.

Careless Insiders:

An unwitting pawn who unintentionally exposes the system to external dangers This is the most prevalent sort of insider threat, and it occurs as a consequence of human error, such as leaving a gadget unattended or falling prey to a hoax. An employee, for example, who has no malicious intent, may click on an unprotected link and infect the system with malware.

A Mole:

An impostor who is ostensibly an outsider but has gained admission to a privileged network as an insider This is someone who impersonates an employee or partner from outside the company.

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Best Practices For Preventing Insider Attacks:

These insider threat prevention best practices can help you reduce the danger of sensitive data being compromised.

  • Conduct an enterprise-wide threat assessment. Understand your essential assets, their weaknesses, and the dangers that may threaten them. Include the numerous risks posed by insider threats in your analysis. Then, based on the risk priority, prioritize the threats and continue to improve your IT security architecture.
  • Ensure that the workplace is physically secure. Hire a competent security crew that will completely adhere to your security guidelines. They should keep suspicious persons out of places where sensitive IT equipment is kept (such as server rooms or rooms with switch racks). Have them check everyone for IT devices at the entry and document anything that deviates from the security baseline. Instruct everyone to turn off their phone cameras when inside the premises. Remember to secure all server rooms.
  • Adopt stringent password and account management rules and practices. All of your users should log in using credentials that are unique to them; each user should have their own login ID and password. To appropriately apply these regulations, use password best practices and account management best practices.
  • Adhere to strict password and account management guidelines. Each of your users should have their own login ID and password. Use password and account management best practices to ensure that these requirements are applied correctly.
  • Encourage cultural shifts—security isn't only about know-how; it's also about attitudes and ideas. You should educate your personnel about security concerns and seek to increase employee satisfaction to counteract carelessness and address the motivations of hostile activity.
  • Defining specific security agreements for any cloud services, including access limitations and monitoring capabilities, is essential. Cloud service providers expand an organization's network perimeter and expose malevolent insiders to new attack vectors. Perform a risk assessment of the data you intend to outsource to a cloud service provider, especially if it contains sensitive information such as intellectual property or financial information. Ascertain that the service provider poses an acceptable degree of risk and that their security policies are comparable to or better than your own. Recognize how the service provider handles data security. Determine who is responsible for controlling logical and physical access to corporate assets in the cloud and authenticate their identity. All modifications made in the cloud should be monitored and controlled.

Final Thoughts

A misplaced USB disk containing sensitive information. A shrewd employee passing on secret information to a competition. An employee who clicks on a phishing email by accident. All of these are instances of insider risks to your company.

Insider threats aren't only the stuff of movies and criminal dramas, sadly. When it comes to addressing cyber-security issues, the fact is that your staff are a serious hazard. This isn't to say you can't put your faith in your personnel. It implies that you must enhance your understanding of how and why insider threats occur within your firm.

Most of the time, your workers are unaware that their activities are placing the company in danger of a cyber attack as a consequence of an insider threat. You can help reduce insider threats and establish a proactive cyber security-aware culture by keeping the discourse about security awareness continuing 365 days a year.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Sheikh Islam

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