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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

Insider Threats Aren’t Perpetrated By The Obvious: Part 2

Post by Peter McCalister June 9, 2011

Insider threats are a global phenomenon. Every company in every part of the world is subject to some level of insider threat. And guess what? Insider villains are just as unidentifiable in the UK as they are in the US. They appear just as innocuous in Poughkeepsie as they do in Perth.

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.

I have reported on several cases in this blog over the last year where an insider has done everything from almost nuisance-level harm to the very heights of catastrophic theft in the hundreds of millions of dollars range. I also travel frequently to visit resellers, customers and prospects around the globe to discuss least privilege for specific business, geographic and system level requirement (physical, virtual, cloud-based computing platforms). What always amazes me on these trips is the general belief that insider threats is solely a US-based issue and that employees are completely trustworthy everywhere else.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Just recently an article in computing.co.uk reported that “ICO fines former Direct Assist employee for illegally obtaining NHS data.” I wonder if this guy looked like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons? Probably not, but he did get away with patient records which he then used to try and get those people to file personal claims. Just another story to add to the litany of insider threat damages.

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