We’re all aware of the threats from outside an organisation, but what about the risks from the inside?
Insider Vulnerabilities can be devastating to a business. A disgruntled employee can cause serious harm if they have access to internal systems, whether they leak sensitive information or steal data, an insider can be difficult to detect.
On the opposite side of the malicious insider coin is the accidental vulnerability. The majority of cyber-attacks (91%) begin via phishing or business email compromise (BEC) attacks. Staff accidentally clicking on malicious links contained within such an email can trigger malware such as ransomware, spyware and trojans.
There are countless examples of this. One of the most infamous cases which results in devasting loss of information and destruction was the 2014 Sony Pictures breach. Using combination of social engineering and phishing emails, the hackers were able to trick Sony employees into clicking on malware infected attachments. As a result, over 100 terabytes of data was stolen and is estimated to have cost the company at least $100 million.
Reducing the vulnerabilities and initial point of compromise due to insiders can be achieved by implementing the following;
Through negligence and/or carelessness employees can compromise sensitive data easily, and most of the time they do it accidentally. Awareness training can go a long way towards empowering employees into taking information security seriously. They need to be educated on why security is important as well as why organisational data is valuable and what the consequences of a breach can be.
Access to sensitive data should only be granted to the people that need to access it in order to do their jobs. Policies for staff that depart an organisation also need to be implemented and adhered too. You need to be certain that only the right people see the right data to protect IP and remain compliant with industry regulations. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other regulations soon to come into force policies such as these have to be shown that they are being adhered too.
Some organisations fall victim to attacks from recently departed employees who can still gain access to their former employer’s systems and accounts. For example, if a former employee had access to the organisation's social media accounts, they could inflict a lot of reputational damage by posting derogatory statements via those accounts. To avoid this, all passwords for such accounts should be changed at the departure of such an employee.
All sensitive data should be encrypted, and only the necessary people should have access to the encryption keys needed to unlock it.
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