What is an insider threat? How to successfully protect against insider threat?

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For organizations, it is not easy to determine when the data and sensitive information have been compromised. Of course, all cyber attackers have motives. But insiders have ideal opportunity and means, thus placing them in the optimal position for carrying out malicious activities. The ability to detect and respond to such insider threats is becoming crucial than ever before.

A Cybersecurity Insiders report found that 68% of the businesses believe that insider threats have become more frequent in the last year, whereas 70% of the organizations have experienced more than one insider attack during the same period. This article will discuss insider threats, types of insider threats, and the best practices to protect the organization against insider attacks.

What Is An Insider Threat?

An insider threat is a type of security risk to the organization’s confidential information or digital assets. It originates from within the targeted organizations and typically involves former or current employees or other business associates who are given access to privileged accounts or sensitive information within the organization’s network.

Traditional cybersecurity measures mostly tend to focus on external threats. These measures are not always capable of identifying insider threats that originate from within the organization. As a result, it becomes imperative for organizations to prepare an incident response policy that will allow the business to deal with insider threats if and when they occur.

Types of Insider Threats

The following are the most common types of insider threats that organizations must look after carefully.

1. Malicious Insider

A malicious insider is also known as Turncloak. They are the ones who intentionally and maliciously make abusive use of legitimate credentials to steal information for personal or financial gain—for instance, an opportunistic employee who sells sensitive information of the organization to a competitor. Malicious insiders have advantages over other cyber attackers because they are very well aware of the security procedures and policies followed by the organization. Moreover, they are also quite aware of the various vulnerabilities in the system.

2. Careless Insider

Careless insider is that personnel who unknowingly exposes organizational system or network to outside threats. It is one of the most common types of insider threat faced by the organization. Such type of insider threat usually results from mistakes such as falling victim to a phishing scam or leaving the device exposed. For instance, an internal employee who has no intention of harming clicks on an insecure link, infecting the network or the system with malware.

3. Mole

A mole is an imposter who is not an internal employee of the organization but somehow manages to access the network. Such people are usually someone outside the organization but pretends to be an employee or partner.

How to Protect Your Organization from Insider Threat

1. Enforce Policies

It is very important to document organizational policies to enforce them and, therefore, prevent misunderstandings. It is crucial that everyone within the business understands the security procedures and understands them entirely.

2. Increase Visibility

Another way to protect the organization from insider threats is to increase visibility. Develop and deploy solutions that can track the actions of all employees within the organization. Correlate information from various data sources to identify threats before they cause any damage.

3. Promote Culture Changes

To address the growing insider threat, businesses must educate and train employees regarding security issues. Moreover, it is equally imperative to work towards greater employee satisfaction.

Incident Response Policy

In addition to having preventive measures, it is equally important for the organization to have a strong incident response policy to respond to a potential data breach. Therefore, the organization must ensure that its incident response analyst has the right skills, tools, and resources to contain the damage before it becomes irreparable.

About ECIH Certification

The EC-Council’s Certified Incident Handler (ECIH) program is a comprehensive specialist-level program that imparts knowledge and skills that organizations need to effectively handle post-breach consequences by reducing the impact of the incident from both a financial and a reputational perspective.

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What is Incident Response Plan?
An incident response plan is a set of instructions that helps incident response analysts to detect, respond, and recover from security incidents.
Why is Incident Response Policy Important?
The incident response policy is important for the organization as it protects them from potential loss of revenue. The faster the response, the lesser will be the impact on data, customer trust, and overall reputation.
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