Insider Threats: How CISOs Can Prevent Them

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Insider Threats: How CISOs Can Prevent Them

While most cybersecurity professionals focus on preventing external cyber-attacks, the issue of insider threats is sometimes ignored. Insider dangers, on the other hand, are increasing at a rapid rate.

Insider threats, like outside threats, have the ability to do enormous damage, indicating that insider threats will continue to grow as businesses transition to a hybrid blend of remote and office-based work for the majority of employees. As a result, it is now more vital than ever to handle the risks posed by insider threats.

Insider threats have increased considerably in frequency and financial impact over the last two years. According to a 2020 survey by Proofpoint, “2020 cost of insider threats global report” the overall average cost of insider threats per incident increased by 31% from US$8.76 million in 2018 to US$11.45 million in 2020. Furthermore, in just two years, the number of events has climbed by 47%, from 3,200 in 2018 to 4,716 in 2020.

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Detecting insider threat

Insider threats are classified into three categories by security professionals: negligent, malicious, and compromised users, although not all insider threats are malevolent. This number is likely much higher when unintended threats are taken into accounts, such as the installation of unauthorized software or the use of weak or overused passwords.

Businesses are looking for a history of technical activity with malicious users that includes planning for exfiltration, data exfiltration, and purposeful track covering. Furthermore, these users may act on serious offline motivations such as vengeance, wrath, or frustration in order to hurt others.

Security teams should look for indicators of poor hygiene such as saving passwords in text files, using unsecured Wi-Fi connections, leaving databases vulnerable to the public internet, using unauthorized applications, and actions designed to circumvent security restrictions in order to identify activities arising out of negligence.

Detecting potential cases of compromise entails checking for suspicious behavior such as locating valuable assets, gaining access to target assets, preparing for data exfiltration, and finally, evidence that the insider is masking their tracks.

The longer an issue goes on, the more expensive it becomes. Insider threats are increasing as a result of a number of factors, including more sophisticated external threats that compromise user accounts, third-party contractors with access to the business, a remote and connected workforce, and short job tenures.

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Protecting against insider threats

To prevent any of the cyber incidents, businesses will need a complete insider threat management solution that can continuously visualize risky insider activity across apps, systems, and sensitive data. People, processes, and technology should all be addressed in a successful insider threat management system.

Many businesses make the mistake of focusing solely on data flow. Organizations, on the other hand, require insight into user and file activity at all levels. To determine purpose and actions, they need to understand the “how” and “why” of a user’s activity. Contractors, third parties, and partners along the supply chain can all put businesses in jeopardy if they don’t have adequate people-centric protections in place.

According to the experts, CISOs should create a set of governance principles based on legal advice and explain them to their employees. They should provide security training programs that are suited to each executive level of the company. These training sessions should be held on a regular basis and updated to reflect changes in the nature of insider threats.

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