Insider attacks are one of the most difficult types of attacks to detect. They are performed by an “insider”, or anyone that has legitimate access to your company network and data via a login or other authorized connection.
They bypass certain security defenses, such as those designed to keep intruders out, because insiders have authorized system access. Since a logged-in user isn’t seen as an intruder, those security protections aren’t triggered.
Ponemon Institute released a report with three troubling statistics illustrating the importance of addressing this threat. Insider attacks are taking longer to detect, getting worse, and becoming more extensive.
The report found that over the last two years:
- The average cost of addressing insider threats has risen by 34%
- Insider attacks have increased by 44%
- It takes organizations 85 days to contain an insider threat, compared to 77 days in 2020.
The first step towards mitigation is for companies to understand what makes up an insider threat.
4 Types of Insider Threats
Since there are multiple kinds of insider threats, this makes them hard to detect. Employees, vendors, and hackers can all perpetrate insider security breaches. To further complicate detection, some may be malicious and others accidental.
Here are the four main types of insider threats faced by company networks.
- Malicious/Disgruntled Employee
An employee that is leaving the company may decide to take all their sales contacts with them. This is considered malicious theft of company data.
Another example of this type of insider attack is a disgruntled employee. They may be upset with a manager who just fired them and decide to do get even by doing the business harm. They could plant ransomware or make a deal with a hacker to give over their login credentials for cash.
- Careless/Negligent Employee
Some insider threats are due to lazy or untrained employees. They don’t mean to cause a data breach but may accidentally share classified data on a non-secure platform. Or they may use a friend’s computer to login to their business apps and be completely unaware of the security consequences.
- 3rd Party with Access to Your Systems
Another very real concern are outsiders with access to your network. Vendors, Freelancers and contractors, can all constitute an insider breach risk.
Before giving these third parties system access, you need to ensure that they are fully reviewed. You should also allow your IT partner to review them for any data security concerns.
- Hacker That Compromises a Password
Compromised login credentials are one of the most dangerous types of insider threats and has, in fact, become the #1 driver of data breaches around the world.
When a cybercriminal can access an employee’s login, that criminal becomes an “insider.” Your computer system reads them as the legitimate user.
Ways to Mitigate Insider Threats
Insider threats can be difficult to detect after the fact. However, if you put mitigation measures in place, you can stop them in their tracks. Being proactive can keep you from suffering a costly incident that you may not know about for months.
Here are some of the best tactics for reducing insider threat risk.
- Thorough Background Checks
When hiring new employees make sure you do a thorough background check. Watch for red flags in their work history and be sure to do the same with any vendors or contractors that will have access to your systems.
- Endpoint Device Solutions
About 60% of the endpoints in a company are made up of mobile devices. But many businesses are lacking a solution to manage device access to resources.
By putting an endpoint management solution in place, businesses can monitor device access. This also allows you to safelist devices and block unauthorized devices by default.
- Multi-factor Authentication & Password Security
One of the best ways to fight credential theft is through multi-factor authentication. Hackers may blow past the first stage but have a hard time getting past the 2nd factor. This typically requires more specific information and hackers rarely have access to a person’s mobile device or FIDO security key.
Couple this with password security. This includes things like:
- Requiring unique passwords for all logins
- Using a business password manager
- Requiring strong passwords in your cloud apps
- Employee Data Security Training
Training your employees can help you mitigate the risk of a breach through carelessness. Take the time to train employees on proper data handling and security policies governing sensitive information.
- Network Monitoring
The only way to catch someone who has user access to your system is through intelligent network monitoring.
By instituting the use of AI-enabled threat monitoring it allows you to detect strange behaviours as soon as they happen. For example, someone downloading a large number of files, or someone logging in from outside the country will raise a red flag.
Need Help Putting a Stop to Insider Attacks?
A layered security solution can help you mitigate all four types of insider threats. SimplicIT can help you with a robust and affordable solution. Contact us today for a free consultation. 208-326-3800