As a business owner, you need to be aware of the security threats posed by insider attacks.
Whether it’s an ex-employee accessing confidential information or a malicious individual intent on damaging your systems with a ransomware attack— insider attacks can come from various sources.
Let’s discuss different types of insider attacks and the measures you can take to safeguard against them:
Accidental Insider Threats
An accidental insider threat is a cybersecurity breach that occurs when an employee or contractor unintentionally exposes sensitive data to unauthorized individuals.
This can happen in several ways:
If unauthorized individuals obtain sensitive data, they may attempt to exploit this information for personal gain with a ransomware attack.
A ransomware attack is when an attacker encrypts a victim’s data and demands a ransom to decrypt it. This can cost an organization significantly, as you may not only have to pay the ransom but also suffer from losing data and productivity.
Phishing is a cyberattack that uses fraudulent emails or other communications to trick people into disclosing sensitive information, like passwords or credit card numbers.
Cybercriminals can use this information to access an organization’s systems if an employee negligently interacts with the phisher.
Malware is malicious software that criminals can use to infect computers and devices, allowing attackers to gain control of your systems.
Once infected a system with malware, the attacker can use it to steal data, spy on users, or launch further attacks on the organization.
Social engineering attacks typically involve cybercriminals using deception, manipulation, or intimidation to trick employees into disclosing sensitive information or performing actions that would give the attacker company access.
Protecting Your Organization from Accidental Insider Threats
Poor security practices are a common cause of insider cybersecurity threats. Here are some tips to rectify the matter:
- Educate your employees on the importance of cybersecurity, including regular training on best practices and teaching employees proper reporting.
- Implement security controls to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data, including access control lists, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems.
- Install and update cybersecurity software as an added security layer.
- Keep a response plan in place with steps for identifying the source of the threat, containing it, and eradicating the threat from your system.
Intentional Insider Threats
An intentional insider threat generally comes from a current or former employee, contractor, or business partner who uses their authorized access to an organization’s systems for malicious purposes.
These individuals often have detailed knowledge of the organization’s IT infrastructure and security controls, which they can use to gain access to sensitive information.
Insider Threats from Former Employees
Former employees can pose a significant insider threat to an organization.
Employees who leave an organization may still have access to sensitive information, such as passwords or customer data.
Additionally, former disgruntled employees may use this information to damage your organization’s reputation or steal company secrets.
Protecting Your Organization from Intentional Insider Threats
There are several steps that organizations can take to protect themselves from intentional insider threats, including:
- Conduct background checks on all employees, contractors, and business partners.
- Implementing strict access control measures and activity monitoring capabilities.
- Educate employees on cybersecurity risks and best practices.
- Respond to any suspicious activity quickly and decisively.
Taking proactive steps to protect your business from insider attacks is essential to secure your data, critical infrastructure, and intellectual property!