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In all of the prior threat scenarios, corporate actors are trying to protect the data but failing for whatever reason external attack, malware , negligence, etc. But when an insider goes rogue, the threat is of a fundamentally different nature. For instance, suppose an insider who has access to critical data decides to steal that data and go to an industry rival. On a technical level, it is almost impossible to guard against that threat. You minimize that threat through thoughtful hiring. And if it happens, you immediately go into damage control mode and get an injunction.
Security Awareness company that trains corporate end users on security awareness using minute animated episodes based on actual security breaches, that are released every 30 days. Internal threats can be particularly harmful due to the potential misappropriation of trade secrets and intellectual property.
However, in most cases, internal attacks aren't executed in collaboration with enemies of the state, but rather internal employees trying to obtain financial gain. External threats usually go after larger data sets that have a likelihood of compromising the customers of the organization that was breached.
This results in credit card, identity information, or other PII Personally identifiable information going to the hackers. This is particularly harmful to the company due to the loss of reputation, potential lawsuits, and the significant cost in making the situation right with their customers.
Many external attacks are phishing attacks in which the hacker relies on human error for successful execution. Considering the large, ever-increasing number of external breaches that impact everyday Americans, if I had to pick, I would say that today external breaches are more threatening to a company's data security. Jeff also managed the development of Visage, a powerful data exploration, navigation, and visualization system that led to a spin-off company bought by General Dynamics. Outsiders are a somewhat fixed threat; there is little one can do short of unplugging the internet and locking the door.
Insiders may sometimes be malicious, but more often than not, they are simply careless or even reckless. Employees trying to do their jobs may make mistakes due to misunderstanding, lack of training, or lacking sufficient time for attentive action. Some of this threat can be mitigated through the use of training and tools to support good security practices. The most insidious threat is a longer-term one. That is, the presence of poorly designed procedures or products that cause employees to choose between security and productive work. These situations are pretty much guaranteed to eventually lead to problems.
Mitigating this sort of situation requires a commitment on the part of management to provide users with well-designed tools that are both highly usable and safe in terms of data security. He's a former employee at Boeing, in the Global Network Architecture division, the nation's largest private cyberattack target. He previously worked at the Flushing Bank, in Network and Systems Infrastructure, protecting valuable financial data at various levels within the network and system.
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Paul has also performed forensic investigations into mobile devices aiding in the prosecution of criminals. Insiders are a threat from two angles, that of an intentional purpose and that of unintentional circumstance. Insiders will always be a bigger threat as they already have physical access to said information and potentially more. This is why social engineering is the biggest source of compromise; it relies on the human weakness of insiders. The lack of awareness and proper alertness could, in fact, be the opportunity that hackers look for when planning a breach.
Stu Sjouwerman is the CEO of KnowBe4 , the world's most popular integrated platform for awareness training combined with simulated phishing attacks.
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You can have all the technology solutions in place, yet one user clicks on a link that they shouldn't or falls prey to a spear phishing email spoofing your CEO, and poof! There goes 46 million dollars. Learn more about Jayson, and his role as the Pwnie Infosec Ranger here.
Consider both the malicious, out-for-revenge employee and the well-intentioned, yet uneducated employee, and it might be the latter that is the most difficult for a company to detect since the behavior goes under the radar of traditional network security products. Employees are constantly circumventing security policies. The most notorious is the amount of connected personal devices they bring in to work, often under the guise of enhanced productivity, whether that means more work or watching more cat videos on Facebook.
What they don't realize is they are unknowingly compromising company security because each of those devices is now a pathway for attack. While the industry has been aware of insider threats for a long time, we are just starting to grasp the idea that knowing all the devices on or even around the corporate network is half the battle. Companies need to start focusing on people and devices who already have direct access to company data, sometimes unknowingly. Fortifying external defenses won't protect a company if insiders don't realize their iPhone has now become an open door to customer financial data.
Paul Kraus is the President and CEO of Eastward Breach Detection , which delivers enterprise-grade active breach detection technology, made easy to use and cost-effective for any size enterprise. By far, the insider threat! A few examples can easily highlight this. First of all, common misconfigurations of overly-complicated web-based applications or internet-facing infrastructure are all too common. No conversation on this topic can omit mobile devices and laptops. Companies need to move past the legacy ideology that Apple iOS products are safe while Android and Windows are the only petri dishes of malware.
All operating systems are proven vehicles for attack. Add to this the threat of shared and weak passwords on internal systems, and you have a situation where the things we thought were safe password protection, Apple iOS are posing huge and often times unaudited risks. The insider threats are often the enablers of external threats, and if left under-appreciated, more companies will make the nightly news — for all the wrong reasons.
JP Zhang is the Founder of SoftwareHow , a blog about helping you solve common problems related to computers and digital devices, with no-nonsense software tools and actionable how-to tips. Incomplete corporate management easily exposes sensitive data to unauthorized employees who could leverage the data to achieve personal purposes. This happens more in startups and SMBs. In most of the data disaster cases that claim to be conducted by outsiders, the motive is actually to obtain credentials from insiders within that company. Jessica Geary previously worked at the educational startup Decoded, teaching professionals about hacking, coding, and data.
She's currently working as a digital media specialist at Maxus for Barclaycard. We hear everyday that weak passwords are making employees vulnerable, which is true, but I believe employees need to be trained in the subtle art of social engineering, the signs and signals of a hacker who is already in the email system posing as your boss desperately in need of that master password.
Data security is very seldom just a technical issue, but a very human one that takes a shift in company culture to tackle. Stewart Rose is the president and founder of ThreatReady , a data security company that helps organizations protect themselves by establishing a culture of cyber awareness. Inside people. Attacks target specific employees, job titles, and types of information, and they are often cleverly disguised, so people inadvertently reveal sensitive information as they go about their jobs.
Cybersecurity is a people problem , and employee missteps are leading to disastrous results. They already have an upper hand on the outsiders; they are inside of the organization. An insider does not have to deal with getting through a firewall and potentially creating network noise in doing so. An insider will usually know where the important data resides. Quite often, that insider will have the proper security rights to the data as well, an advantage over an outsider. To further assist in their theft, insiders are often not monitored to the extent that IT security will monitor an outside attack.
Even if an insider is being actively monitored, it is difficult for IT to determine whether or not the accessing of a document or copying it to a USB drive is for legitimate purposes or nefarious purposes, especially when those documents are regularly used by the insider. Typically, insider theft is only detected once the insider leaves the company. Outside threats have the advantage, usually, of anonymity, but for all the reasons previously mentioned, insiders are more of a threat to data security. While this seems like common sense, it is a fact the amount of damages caused by insiders is higher.
Analyzing some facts, this makes total sense. While outsiders are larger in number, insiders have way more power as they are 1 familiar with the system e. One should keep in mind that internal does not necessarily include an active adversary. As pointed out by Verizon , a significant amount of breaches are miscellaneous errors positing private data accidentally, or sending information to the wrong recipients , insider and privilege misuse, and physical theft and loss i.
This was also pointed out by riskbasesecurity. Michael Fimin is an accomplished expert in information security and the CEO and co-founder of Netwrix , the IT auditing company providing software that maximizes visibility of IT infrastructure changes and data access. Netwrix is based in Irvine, CA. I would say insider threat is commonly a more serious issue just because companies are not properly prepared.
Insider threat is often disregarded in security strategies due to personal relationships with employees built on trust, underestimated value of assets, lack of knowledge about security, and so on. Also, many do not realize that insiders are not only current employees with malicious intentions, but also partners, contractors, and former staff — anyone who has ever been granted access to your network. What can companies do to minimize insider threat?
Here are 6 important steps:. Be proactive; don't wait for a breach to happen.
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Damage is not always done intentionally — it can be a result of a simple human mistake. You have to know who has access to what and what changes are made to critical systems and data, as well as who did it and when. This will help you detect potential threats, take necessary actions, rollback unwanted changes, and investigate if necessary. Even if employees or partners and contractors are trustworthy and show no intention to compromise the data, they could become a target simply because they have access.
These simple measures are often forgotten, but can strengthen security. That being said, the employee with intimate knowledge of the system's interworkings will have the greatest success in achieving the breach and compromising critical components or data. Bottom line: While the statistical probability is greater that the breach will come from an external source, the internal attack can cause the most damage because of the insider's intimate knowledge of systems, data locations, and processes. Fortunately, the trend of attacks form within is very low.
Both should be protected against as a matter of overall risk to the company, rather than simply an IT problem. Tim's academic work at the University of Virginia focused in the areas of philosophy of language, mathematical logic, semiotics, epistemology, and phenomenology. Insiders pose more of a threat because there are many ways to protect against outsiders, while the challenge with insiders, who are colleagues or trusted third parties — employees, partners, contractors — is that they work alongside us and have legitimate, indeed necessary access to the very systems or information that requires protection.
Since it would be impractical for access to be routinely blocked, there is a pressing need to gauge the difference in intent that separates the innocuous majority from those with malicious objectives. In the absence of being able to read minds, our ability to defend against the insider threat is very limited. All too often someone's hidden agenda only becomes apparent long after any theft or damage has taken place. Additionally, clues that can lead to an insider threat are often present with an organization's information, but those committing crime and fraud will usually take time to adjust records and cover their tracks.
In many cases, the technology used to protect these organizations are used again them. The best evidence of this usually lies within the unstructured human communication of documents, emails, chats, and other messages. Criminals often code or conceal their activities within this information, knowing that if their activities and intent go undetected by the internal systems, they'll continue to be trusted and will have access to the tools they need to continue their criminal activity.
Sharon Polsky is a data protection and privacy specialist and a Privacy by Design Ambassador who is passionate about the importance of effective data protection and information risk management. With over 30 years of firsthand experience advising governments and organizations across North America, Sharon takes a practical approach to privacy, access, and information security trends, laws, and emerging technologies. A perpetual chicken-and-egg question. You can look at any number of statistics that claim 70, 80 or even 90 percent of data problems are caused inside.
In more than 30 years of advising government and private sector organizations about data privacy and protection compliance, I have seen that the source of every data risk and problem is employees, executives, suppliers, or partners inside the organization who either did something or neglected to do something, and that allowed a vulnerability to occur.
Whether through curiosity, malice, or good intentions, the people inside an organization who have access to its systems and information are inevitably the biggest risk. Andy Feit is Head of the Threat Prevention Product Line for Check Point with overall responsibility for strategy, positioning, and go-to-market activities. Before joining Check Point, he was a co-founder and CEO of Enlocked, an email security company focused on small- to mid-size businesses. He has also held several executive positions at information management software companies including MarkLogic, Verity, Quiver, Inktomi, and Infoseek, as well as serving as director and principal analyst for market research firm Gartner.
External sources. That said, insider threats are responsible for many breaches and the reality is that it is not always as clear as inside vs. For example, if an external organization was looking to gain access to data and bribed a system admin or DBA to provide a password or access to a system, but then the attack was executed by external hackers, how would you attribute this? Other grey areas exist. For example, contractors or consultants. If they have signed confidentiality agreements and are given access to data, what if they ultimately keep data they needed access to in order to complete their tasks and use it improperly?
Was this an insider or external attack?
In general, as both network and endpoint security continue to improve, the use of these hybrid techniques is likely to increase. It is important for organizations to ensure they have proper controls, audit, and protection in place to be able to detect and trace insider threats. Brandon A. Brandon currently manages Numerate's software engineering team and is responsible for the development of the company's drug design technology platform and its technical vision. He is also a strategic advisor at Lanza techVentures, where he provides technical insights.
Both insiders and outsiders are a data security threat. In reality it depends on the publicly facing digital surface area as to whether insiders or outsiders are more of a threat. For B2C businesses the surface area is likely quite expansive, out of necessity. It also means that the company likely has a lot of customer data, which is often sold as a commodity on the dark web. In addition, the rise of ransom attacks puts companies — companies that may not think their data is all that interesting to external parties — at risk. Likely more so, because they don't think what they have is worth anything.
In this case, I would argue that external threats are a larger problem. They are more unpredictable and harder to anticipate. Insiders can be more controlled with proper security measures. The key there is proper security measures. In my experience, many businesses don't have proper security because, if not implemented properly, they often run counter to productivity and employee morale. In a B2B business the greater threat are insiders.
The greatest insider threat in this situation depends on a company's business model and how the data is gathered and consumed. In many cases, the threat is the insider within the customer business. You have very little control over them. You can only control their access to the data in your system through software measures and contractual agreements.
Another source of insider threats for both B2B and B2C companies are the non-technical staff and contractors, such as lawyers that need some level of access to the data. In this case, it is generally not a malicious threat, more often just unawareness. Proper training for staff is required and secure practices can be achieved. But it is much harder to train and control external contractors that have access to data on their own systems. Greg Mancusi-Ungaro is responsible for developing and executing the BrandProtect market, marketing, and go-to-market strategy.
A passionate evangelist for emerging technologies, business practices, and customer-centricity, Greg has been leading and advising world-class marketing initiatives, teams, and organizations for more than twenty-five years. Prior to joining BrandProtect, Greg served in marketing leadership roles at ActiveRisk, Savi Technologies, Sepaton, Deltek, Novell, and Ximian, building breakthrough products and accelerating business growth.
He is a co-founder of the openSUSE project, one of the world's leading open source initiatives. Very different security requirements. In the end, the human costs of inside threats make it crucially important that a firm do everything it can to identify likely threat actors and monitor their activities, while the business costs of outside threats can literally cause a company to have to close its doors.
Inside threats — either employees or trusted parties with an axe to grind — have many different origins and expressions. Employees can feel under pressure after reorganizations, after transfers, if an expected raise or promotion does not come through, or any of a number of other office situations. Insiders can also face external circumstances which make them feel desperate — a change in the status of a relationship, unexpected expenses, or health-related issues, for example.
Increasingly, security teams are also using external cyber activity monitoring tools in an effort to unearth online activities — posts, rants, and tweets — that might indicate that a threat is imminent. Outside threats — cyber threats enacted by third parties that never touch an enterprise's firewall — are much more common than insider threats. On the surface, they can almost seem inconsequential. What does it really matter if a third party registers a similar domain?
Or if a few customers fall prey to a phishing email? Taken individually, these small incursions may not have significant costs, but taken collectively, outside threats like these can have a profound impact. In some cases, the criminals merely want to generate false charges on a credit card or empty a bank account.
But many times, the criminals are probing the public for information that can eventually be used in social engineering or other schemes that can rip an enterprise wide open. The overall market costs of millions and millions of compromised accounts or personal records are enormous, and the reputational costs to the trusted company whose identity has been used to trick the public or the companies that are eventually targeted in a major cybercrime cannot be measured.
Once a customer is lost, it is very difficult to recapture them. View the discussion thread. Platform Overview.
Popular Topics: Data Protection. Security News. Threat Research. Industry Insights. One of the most interesting aspects of being a White House correspondent is following the president to all sorts of places around the country and the world. Presidents visit factories, farms, schools, theaters, sports arenas, science labs, space centers, military bases, foreign palaces and, from time to time, even a war zone.
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President Bill Clinton once took us in his motorcade for a lap around the Daytona International Speedway. President George W. Bush took us via helicopter onto the deck of an aircraft carrier. But until this week, none had ever taken us inside the concertina wire fences of a federal prison. In a typical year, a ship sinks every four days. From 2, to 6, mariners die in accidents annually, and more than are held hostage, many of them tortured.
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Before I began reporting on lawlessness at sea for the series The Outlaw Ocean, I had no idea how dangerous it is to be a mariner. Rarely do shipwrecks, or acts of fatal violence at sea, make the evening news. The Dona Liberta cured me of my sea blindness.
He had received death threats after he declared in an ad for one of his gun classes that he refused to teach liberals and Muslims. Keller put his weapon in his truck and agreed to talk. The moral of the story is that when reporters knock on doors in rural Texas, they must do so politely, quickly and a tad nervously. On Tuesday afternoon, as I walked toward a house in this West Texas town, a photographer by my side, I wondered if Mr.
Keller had moved to Christoval. A Confederate battle flag waved on the porch. Christoval has been in a state of low-grade anxiety and mild unease. It is one of more than a dozen mostly rural communities in Texas where a military exercise called Jade Helm 15 will be conducted starting Wednesday. The conversations between a young woman in rural Washington State and a British man with ties to radical Islam may provide clues about how ISIS recruits new members around the world.
Like most developing stories, nothing was for certain. Earlier this year I went to rural Washington State to meet a young woman who had befriended Islamic State sympathizers over the Internet. In February, we spoke to the year-old woman and her grandmother by phone and discussed protecting their identities in exchange for telling her story. They were worried that Alex could become targeted by Internet trolls and her community. There was also concern on their end, as well as ours, that others might want to physically harm her. Both Alex and her grandmother wanted anonymity and we offered it.
They agreed, and about a week later we flew out to see them, knowing they could still turn us away at their doorstep. Before our meeting, I was trying to figure out two things. Shooting an entire video without revealing two of the three characters would be a little challenging. Especially since Alex had distinguishing frizzy red hair often tied up in a French braid and a distinctive way of speaking — she rocks back and forth when talking and has tremors in her hands, conditions most likely related to fetal alcohol syndrome.
While I could film her in silhouette, from the back and below her chin, I worried that someone in her small town could identify her should they watch the video. Rukmini and I felt very strongly that we had to talk to Alex and her grandparents to explain the potential consequences of going public with the story.
We were very open throughout the entire process, and I tried my best to address all their concerns. This, plus the amount of time we spent with both Alex and her grandmother, allowed them to open up. My second concern was getting enough one-on-one time with Alex while giving Rukmini and Andrea Bruce, the photographer, the space they needed to do their reporting as well. Having a background in print journalism, I can tell you that interviewing someone on camera is quite different from doing so for an article.
In print, a reporter needs to get good quotes, details and facts to write a clear description, a timeline of how events unfolded, and context for the story. So Rukmini had to do some interjecting to ask lots of questions, which sometimes broke the stream of thoughts and emotions I wanted to catch on video. Audio mics can pick up the softest noises, and there were moments where I may have shushed Rukmini for scribbling on her notepad.
Sorry, Rukmini! Luckily I was able to interview Alex separately for the video. Rukmini, Andrea and I gave one another the personal time and space needed with Alex. We worked together — giving cues on who should lead and who should hang back throughout our time with her.