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
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-4632
Published: 2015-01-31
VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP) 5.1, 5.5 before 5.5.9, and 5.8 before 5.8.1 does not properly verify X.509 certificates from vCenter Server SSL servers, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof servers, and bypass intended backup and restore access restrictions, via a crafted certifica...

CVE-2014-7287
Published: 2015-01-31
The key-management component in Symantec PGP Universal Server and Encryption Management Server before 3.3.2 MP7 allows remote attackers to trigger unintended content in outbound e-mail messages via a crafted key UID value in an inbound e-mail message, as demonstrated by the outbound Subject header.

CVE-2014-7288
Published: 2015-01-31
Symantec PGP Universal Server and Encryption Management Server before 3.3.2 MP7 allow remote authenticated administrators to execute arbitrary shell commands via a crafted command line in a database-backup restore action.

CVE-2014-8266
Published: 2015-01-31
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the note-creation page in QPR Portal 2014.1.1 and earlier allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) title or (2) body field.

CVE-2014-8267
Published: 2015-01-31
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in QPR Portal 2014.1.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the RID parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.