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Even Low-Level Malicious Insider Threats Cause High-Level Damage

March 19, 2021
malicious insider threats represented by a crime comic style blue eye looking through a peephole.

Malicious Insider Threats Are Growing and That’s Bad News for Businesses 


No company wants to think that one of their staffers may be trying to harm the business instead of helping it, but that’s frequently the case, especially in tumultuous times like these. While the vast majority of insider threats are from well-meaning but incautious employees, 23% of insider threat incidents are the result of deliberate, malicious acts. Spotting and stopping malicious insider threats has to be a priority for every company before those threats become expensive and damaging cybersecurity disasters. 


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Even A Small Breach is Big Trouble


One great example of how much damage just one or two low-level malicious insiders can do quickly is the Shopify breach in Q4 2020. In this incident, two support team employees hatched a scheme to steal customer transaction records from specific merchants. While only about 20 shops were affected, several high-profile merchants were targeted, including influencer Kylie Jenner’s high-profile line Kylie Cosmetics. The data exposed included client details like email, name, and street address, as well as order details, but did not involve complete payment card numbers or financial information.  

Malicious insider threats like this are becoming more frequent in today’s challenging economy — between 2018 and 2020, malicious insider incidents climbed more than 45 %. Analysts noted the fastest growth in insider threats in the Retail (38% two-year increase) and Financial Services (20% two-year increase) sectors. With booming dark web data markets and big unemployment numbers worldwide, many workers are looking to make a quick buck any way they can and that can cost your business dearly – the cost of a malicious insider incident has surged 31% as well. 


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Who Benefits?


Data breaches caused by malicious actors are likely to be for their own profit, but some are for someone else’s benefit – in 2020, 71% of malicious insider breaches were financially motivated and 25% were motivated by espionage. That’s one reason why it’s critical to realize and accept that malicious insider threats are a reality for your business too – and the unfortunate truth is that more than 60% of businesses don’t survive a cyberattack. No matter how much you trust your staff, many people will find making quick money with a password irresistible.

The Ponemon Institute report claims that it takes on average 77 days to detect and contain an insider attack. On a more granular level, a recent survey of IT professionals found that they believed their companies could detect an insider attack within much shorter timeframes – 16% said within a month, 20% said within a week, 20% said within a day, 16% said within an hour and 16% said they’d detect an insider attack within minutes.


Better Safe Than Sorry


Although every business is hoping it never comes down to it, being prepared for an insider security incident is essential. Take sensible precautions to protect your business from insider threats and put early warning tools in place so that you can spot and stop them before they wreak havoc on your business. 

Download our resource package “Stop Insider Threats” and learn to spot red flags with our “6 Things You Need to Know About Insider Threats” whitepaper and “Combatting Insider Threats” eBook. 

Put strong controls on your points of entry with secure identity and access management that includes multifactor authentication. This goes a long way toward preventing any of your employees from selling access or passwords in the hot cybercrime-as-a-service sector. Passly is an ideal choice for businesses of any size, with fast deploying, seamlessly integrated protection that goes to work in days not weeks. 

Most cybercrime has a connection to the Dark Web. Keep an eye on the Dark Web to stay ready for insider danger and be on the lookout for your company’s stolen or leaked credentials. See Dark Web ID in action to learn more about how it increases your security by alerting you to threats like potentially compromised credentials. 

Don’t let insider threats be the downfall of your cybersecurity plan. Contact the experts at ID Agent for a personalized recommendation on how you can defeat insider threats at any business using our affordable solutions.  

Past is prologue. See our report on what happened to cybersecurity in 2020 and what we think is next.

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