Control Risks

The risks posed by insider threats

By Charles Hecker and Eben Kaplan

With the vast tranches of information stored on organisations’ internal networks, the impact of a data breach can be critical for the company involved. In this article, we consider the range of risks posed by insider threats.

‘Insider threat’ has become a bit of a buzzword in cyber-security circles. The general notion is that people in positions of trust within an organisation — and more importantly on its network — have the ability to cause considerable damage should they one day ‘go rogue’. Of course, the concept of a double agent is nothing new. Espionage, as the saying goes, is the world’s second-oldest profession. But these days, with vast tranches of information stored on networks, the impact from a data breach can border on existential. It is a serious concern to be sure, but insiders can pose a threat to more than just an organisation’s data. Companies would do well do consider the full range of risks.

In the US, much of the handwringing over insider threats stems from the fact that Washington is still reeling from the massive data breach perpetrated by Edward Snowden, the insider du jour. As damaging as some of Snowden’s disclosures were, many in the US government are equally troubled by the fact that they had already been fooled once — by Bradley Manning in the WikiLeaks scandal…

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