Malicious Insider Threats and Indicators

Insider threats can be invisible to standard security measures like firewalls. Use these tips for more robust detection.


Protecting your company data requires more than just technical measures and securing the perimeter—in fact, just one disgruntled or negligent employee can undo all your organization’s protections. Insider threats have caused about one-third of data breaches worldwide, with the average global cost of insider threats rising by 31 percent to $11.5 million.

An insider threat is a security risk that arises from within your organization. Usually, insider threats involve an employee with privileged access who misuses these permissions to access private data or propriety information. Insider threats can be made maliciously, accidentally, or via an imposter.

Here’s how to identify malicious insider threats and stop them from stealing your data and damaging your reputation.


Malicious Insider Threats and Indicators

Unintentional mistakes can still expose you to outside threats. Accidental insider threats are the most common type. Insider threats like these might include an employee falling for a phishing scam or clicking a malware link.


Abnormal activity on the network might suggest an insider threat. Similarly, if an employee suddenly begins to request access and privileges excessively, this could indicate the intention to use those permissions maliciously. Other common indicators may include:

  • Unusual activity on the network, such as accessing files at odd hours.
  • A sudden surge in the volume of traffic or excessive data transferring.
  • Excessive access to seldom used resources.


Protecting Against an Insider Attack

Reduce the likelihood of insider threats before they start with these critical mitigation methods:

  • Train and enforce security policies and procedures throughout the organization.
  • Promote and model security culture at the highest levels.
  • Protect critical assets and segregate the most sensitive information on your network.
  • Perform a comprehensive risk analysis to identify critical assets, system vulnerabilities, process risks and update incident response plans accordingly.


Detecting Malicious Insider Threats

Insider threats can be invisible to standard security measures like firewalls and intrusion detection | prevention methods. Since they detect external threats, these techniques may not catch exploitations and authorized login as abnormal behavior. Instead of relying on these methods alone, try the following for more robust insider threat and indicators detection:

Monitor User Behavior

Observe login times and system access patterns to identify variations in user behavior and isolate cybersecurity risks. Risk analysis software detects anomalous or disproportionate access and helps you prioritize responses to these events. According to IBM, using user behavior analytics has saved organizations an average of $3.4 million annually.

Establish a Security Team

A qualified, well-equipped security team can dedicate its resources to identifying, remediating, and preventing security threats, risks, and vulnerabilities.

Fostering a Culture of Security Awareness

The insider is most often an unaware employee. Continuous security awareness training, regular social engineering assessments, and limiting permissions so that staff only have the credentials they need will aid greatly in reducing your overall attack surface.

For more information on how to stop insider threats, contact Securance for a free consultation.