Capping insider leaks is a top priority for the U.S. intelligence community – so much so that a “national insider threat policy” will soon be enforced. A Presidential Directive has already been issued ordering all departments and agencies to open an Insider Threat Program Management Office (PMO).
Yet while the government is ordering directives on capping the leaks, the top U.S. intelligence official said that it would take roughly five years to put into place new measures to stop insider leaks of classified information. Five years is too long of a time to resolve a critical security issue. Hackers have adapted and now hijack the credentials of over-privileged users as a method to gaining access to classified information. Anyone can get educated on how to wreak IT havoc after just spending a few minutes on YouTube.
Insider attacks have fundamentally changed the way we approach security. Billions of dollars have been spent over the last few decades on IT security in order to “keep the bad guys out,” but it turns out the bigger threat was and always has been, found within the network perimeter. The trusted employee, contractor or partner, can cost an organization more on a daily and/or per incident basis than any outside hacker could hope for.
Human nature is the weakest link when it comes to the intersection of people, processes and technology. In most situations it’s more often than not the case that people have way too much privileged access – admin rights on the desktop, root password on server – for the role they are required to play.