Risk
1/31/2008
05:36 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

When Criminal Intent Lurks One Cube Away

The ongoing Société Général fraud story is a case study in insider threats. The costs, north of $7 billion for the French bank, are high and likely to go higher. For the rest of us, it leaves an uneasy question: Do we have a rogue in our organization? And if so, what do we do about it?

The ongoing Société Général fraud story is a case study in insider threats. The costs, north of $7 billion for the French bank, are high and likely to go higher. For the rest of us, it leaves an uneasy question: Do we have a rogue in our organization? And if so, what do we do about it?As was posted earlier this week, the fraud doesn't look like it required any "hacking" or significant technical skills to perpetrate. Rather, the accused allegedly used his inside knowledge on internal controls to bypass them and place roughly $73 billion in bogus trades that cost the bank more than $7 billion to unwind.

It's a stark reminder to security professionals what could be at stake if a knowledgeable insider ever turned bad in a fraudulent, criminal, even destructive way.

The Insider Threat Study: Illicit Cyber Activity in the Banking and Finance Sector, published by the U.S. Secret Service and the CERT Coordination Center, holds some interesting findings from its examination of 23 incidents conducted by 26 insiders. Including that, 70% of the time, insiders took advantage of failures in business rule checks and authorization mechanisms. Also, 78% of the time insiders were authorized and active computer users at the time, and a surprising 43% used their own username and passwords to commit their crime.

Those are scary statistics for anyone trying to protect their company's treasure, whether monetary or intellectual property. So how do you go about protecting against the insider threat? One place I'd start would be with background checks, upon hiring.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people who commit these types of incidents don't have a record. This would screen some, but not enough. Another area would be strict identity management and access control enforcement, such as terminating orphaned accounts, limiting access rights, and regular and mandatory password changes among employees. Again, this would help, but not eliminate enough.

What about not only enforcing access control, but also monitoring employee's use of systems -- and letting all employees know -- their work actions are being logged. This would be the right thing to do, and would have to act as a deterrent, and even help with any forensic analysis that may be needed.

This would be a good start, but it's clearly not all inclusive.

What steps does your organization take to minimize the insider threat?

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-2184
Published: 2015-03-27
Movable Type before 5.2.6 does not properly use the Storable::thaw function, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via the comment_state parameter.

CVE-2014-3619
Published: 2015-03-27
The __socket_proto_state_machine function in GlusterFS 3.5 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a "00000000" fragment header.

CVE-2014-8121
Published: 2015-03-27
DB_LOOKUP in nss_files/files-XXX.c in the Name Service Switch (NSS) in GNU C Library (aka glibc or libc6) 2.21 and earlier does not properly check if a file is open, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) by performing a look-up while the database is iterated over...

CVE-2014-9712
Published: 2015-03-27
Websense TRITON V-Series appliances before 7.8.3 Hotfix 03 and 7.8.4 before Hotfix 01 allows remote administrators to read arbitrary files and obtain passwords via a crafted path.

CVE-2015-0658
Published: 2015-03-27
The DHCP implementation in the PowerOn Auto Provisioning (POAP) feature in Cisco NX-OS does not properly restrict the initialization process, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands as root by sending crafted response packets on the local network, aka Bug ID CSCur14589.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Good hackers--aka security researchers--are worried about the possible legal and professional ramifications of President Obama's new proposed crackdown on cyber criminals.