Last year’s WikiLeaks scandal was an embarrassment for the government, drawing attention from every corner of the globe about the insecurity of its networks. Recently, President Obama ordered new computer security rules to government agencies handling classified information after months of investigating the events leading up to WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks gave new meaning to the concept of “insider threat” by providing a convenient vehicle to empower government employees to quickly hand over privileged information to the world. Both online portals for leaking data and insiders who are willing and motivated to leak that data will continue to exist, regardless of any efforts exerted by the government.
This is just one of many examples of the impact insider threats can have on an organization – whether it’s as large as the federal government or as small as a start-up. All companies can take a cue from this very high-profile example, using it as a catalyst to implement their own least privilege policies.
If you have employees with excessive privileges or access to sensitive data, then they are at risk of intentionally, accidentally or indirectly misusing that privilege and potentially stealing, deleting or modifying the data. There is a very fine line between intent and action, especially when excessive privileges on IT resources are involved.