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Security In Context

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

Layoffs May Lead to Insider Attacks

Post by Peter McCalister January 31, 2012

Employee terminations are, unfortunately, a necessary evil for corporations. In a time of recession, layoffs are more copious and often leave those affected angry and upset. It should come as no surprise that a small minority of those cases has led to disastrous consequences for former employers because of some terminated employee backlash.

Just recently, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Institute of Engineering program, The CERT Insider Threat Center, analyzed more than 600 cases of actual malicious insider attacks and published a report on their findings around behavioral modeling titled, “Insider Threat Control: Using Centralized Logging to Detect Data Exfiltration Near Insider Termination. ”Interestingly, according to the report, “Many insiders who stole their organization’s intellectual property stole at least some of it within 30 days of their termination.”

Employee terminations are just one factor when combating insider threats. KPMG also recently released a report titled, “Who is the typical fraudster?,” indicating that companies were not seeing the red flags when it came to insider threats. According to KPMG’s analysis of 348 cases across 69 countries from 2008 to 2010 that were investigated on behalf of its clients, the typical “fraudster” is described as:

• A 36-45 year old male in a senior management role in the finance unit or in a finance-related function
• An employee for more than 10 years who usually would work in collusion with another individual

We at BeyondTrust believe insiders like Disgruntled Dave can be thwarted when an organization implements a least privilege environment to help secure their perimeter within. Whether we like it or not, people can do bad things intentionally, accidentally, or indirectly, and it is our responsibility to take measures to prevent this.

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