12 Mar 2013

Insider Threats Aren’t Hackers – They’re Employees

Organizations spend too much time worrying about cyber-attack techniques, while employees, former employees and contractors pose the biggest threat, the FBI told RSA Conference 2013.

The findings, based on 20 years of espionage case investigations, demolish the popular belief that cyber-spying and data loss are caused by hackers who infiltrate networks.

“I believe that organizations who have good insider threat and data protection programs will be around in 10 years, and those that don't - won't,” FBI Chief Information Security Officer Patrick Reidy told Search Security.

Research also indicated that in 90 percent of cases the problem can't be found by malware detection. FBI specialists argued that a good insider threat program requires more than policy compliance and cyber-security.

“It's not a technical problem,” said Kate Randal, an insider threat analyst with the FBI.

“It's a people-centric problem, and people are multi-dimensional, so what you have to do is take a multi-disciplinary approach.” 

Research also showed almost 25percent of the incidents tracked by the FBI are unintentional. Employees usually compromise computers after losing equipment and sensitive information, clicking on spam or keeping their passwords and accounts insecure.