Insider Threat: A Research-based analysis

Insider Threat: A Research-based analysis

Risk increases to its potential peak when an attack or threat comes from the inner workings of something. Cybersecurity insider threat is the most critical threat because it comes from inside the organization. 

According to the phenomenon institute, the average cost of an insider incident is 11.45 million USD. In 2022, the average cost of an insider threat incident increased by 76% from 2018. See how often the number and costs of internal incidents are increasing. It has become a strong thread for the organization’s security.

What is an insider threat?

There are a lot of ways to define what is an insider threat. So, we RedNode define insider threat in our tone,

 “When an external attacker gets access to an organization’s inside infrastructure or an employee who has been compromised by cybercriminals or an employee who wants to harm the organization’s infrastructure is called an insider threat.”

An insider threat is more dangerous than other threats because insider threats have more access to infrastructure than external threats.

Varieties Insider threat:

Yes, there are different types of insider threats. After analyzing many cases, we RedNode found three types of insider threats. Here:

  1. Insider threat via supply chain attack: An outsider can gain access to the office’s infrastructure through a supply chain attack. Like an attacker has compromised that organization’s network provider or a third-party vulnerable tool is used by that organization. Then he/she (the attacker) gets himself into the organization.
  2. Insider threat via compromised employee: The attacker compromised an employee of that organization and then hacked into that employee’s office account to gain internal access to that organization. Most of the time, that employee gets social-engineered.
  3. Insider threat via a real employee: An angry, frustrated employee may want to destroy the organization he/she works at. It is a real threat because an honest worker can damage an organization more than a stranger attacker.

Impact of insider threat: 

There is no way that an insider threat cannot harm your business. Insider threats can cause an organization to experience a data breach, or product disruption or expose your organization to legislation and enforcement. Insider threats are one of the most powerful threats against an IT infrastructure. The impact of insider threats depends on the situation, but even a small insider threat of any kind can be very impactful to an organization.

Ways to prevent Insider threat:

There are several ways that can protect business organizations from insider threats. Here are they:

  1. Check the office network for security vulnerabilities. A pentester can find all the security vulnerabilities in a network and fix them before anyone else does. Attackers can breach office networks and gain internal access to an organization’s IT infrastructure. Securing the office network is very important to protect the organization from insider threats.
  2. An organization should implement strong access controls and check its office IT systems for any type of broken access controls. A good development team can build robust access controls, and a pentesting expert can test and fix every broken access control in an organization’s IT system. An insider threat will try to access high-privilege accounts to reach more sensitive data, and strong access controls can stop him.
  3. There are two reasons why an employee can go against his/her organization either he/she has been socially engineered to do malicious work, or he/she has emotional ambivalence for that organization. Train your employees against the latest cyber threats and create a good environment where everyone can have their own space.
  4. Minimize access to critical data. The fewer people who have access to critical data, the less likely a serious data breach is. Fewer people have access to critical data, making it harder for attackers to breach it.
  5. Use a multi-factor authentication system to access any account. This provides an additional layer of security for accessing an account’s system. Thus, attackers cannot easily compromise employees’ accounts, or an employee can access other employees’ accounts. MFA keeps an organization’s IT infrastructure much more secure.
  6. Security is a continuous process, check your organization’s IT infrastructure for security vulnerabilities daily. 

In conclusion, insider threats pose a significant risk to an organization’s cybersecurity and can have dire consequences. The average cost of an internal incident continues to rise, emphasizing the urgency for organizations to address this issue An insider threat occurs when an external attacker gains access to internal infrastructure, compromises an employee, or involves a disgruntled employee who wants to harm the organization. Compared to external threats, insiders have more access to critical systems, making them more dangerous. An organization must follow the prevention part to protect itself. And for any inquiry, RedNode is here.