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Types of Insider Threats!

Types of Insider Threats

Types of Insider Threats Workplace Connect

A 2021 report from Cybersecurity Insiders suggests that 57% of organisations feel insider threats have become more frequent over the past 12 months.

 

  1. What Is an Insider Threat?

An insider threat means that there is potential for someone inside or associated with the organisation, to use their access or understanding of the business to cause harm to it. A study conducted in 2021, showed that negligence seems to be the leading cause of these incidents. By anyone inside or associated with the company, we mean:

  • Current or former employees
  • Contractors
  • Business associates
  • Partners

We will discuss 5 different types of insider threats in this blog.


  1. Unintentional Threat – Accidental

Firstly, an unintentional accidental threat means the organisation has been exposed to a threat through a mistake; therefore it was not the intention of someone to cause harm to the business.  The problem with accidental threats is that they can never be completed avoided; however, there are ways to mitigate these risks, such as through training. Examples of accidental insider threats include:

  • Mistyping an email address
  • Opening a phishing email (this is a very common mistake and training should be done to minimise this risk)
  • Not disposing of business documents properly
  • Accidently sending sensitive business information to a competitor

  1. Unintentional Threat – Negligence

On the other hand, an unintentional threat through negligence means that an organisation has been exposed to a threat through someone being careless. Research from 2017 by Ponemon, found that 63% of insider threat accidents are due to people being negligent. In addition to this, it is common for this style of threat to be from employees who have a good general understanding of IT security and workplace policies but chose to ignore them. Examples of negligence insider threats include:

  • Ignoring the latest updates and patches
  • Losing a portable storage device that contains business data
  • Senior executives who do not pay attention to cyber security awareness training 

  1. Intentional Threat

Intentional threats are when a person related to the organisation wishes to cause harm to the business. There are many reasons someone could do this including, financial gain, unhappiness with how the workplace treats them, and because they have left on bad terms with the business. A study by Gartner found that almost a third of criminal insiders commit these acts for financial gain. Examples of intentional threats include:

  • Leaking sensitive information
  • Harassing colleagues
  • Breaking workplace equipment
  • Stealing data owned by the organisation
  • Stealing intellectual data 

  1. Third-Party Threats

Third-party threats are caused by contractors or vendors. They may not be formal members of the business, but they would be given access to facilities, systems, and networks; which they can use for their own advantage. There are two types of threats that come under third-party threats, these include:

  • Direct Threats – this is when an individual has chosen to act in a way that can harm the business directly.
  • Indirect Threats – this means a person has found general flaws in a system which can be exposed to an unintentional and intentional threat actor 

  1. Collusive Threats

Finally, a collusive threat means that there can be one or more insiders collaborating with an external cybercriminal or group of cybercriminals who wants to cause harm to the business. This is always done maliciously. Due to employees working with someone on the outside to hurt the organisation, it can be very hard to find who is involved.  Examples of these kinds of threats include:

  • Cybercriminals recruiting current employees to commit fraud
  • Intellectual property was stolen from the business
  • The external cybercriminal could want someone spying from the inside to give them their desired information 

  1. Our Advice

Furthermore, it can be hard to control the people who want to act in malicious ways toward the business, therefore we suggest regular training and quizzes to ensure staff who unintentionally harm the business are able to learn how to effectively manage any risks. Another suggestion is using a service provider who can monitor your IT to keep watch for any suspicious activity; meaning, the IT specialists will always notify you if they find something which does not look right and where it had come from.


In conclusion, if your business would like further advice and guidance on this matter, please contact us today:

Contact (workplaceconnect.co.uk)


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