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Partner Perspectives

‘Insider Sabotage’ among Top 3 Threats CISOs Can’t yet Handle

These five steps can help your organizations limit the risks from disgruntled employees and user errors.

Although insider sabotage is among the top three security threats companies face, 35% of chief information security officers in the US still lack the best practices to handle it properly, according to a Bitdefender study.

Insider sabotage - whether by a former employee who still has network access and is bent on sabotage or a careless staff member who clicks on phishing links when using company devices, or even a contractor or associate - can be particularly devastating because it’s usually not detected until the damage is done.

As the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to work trend becomes even more widespread, CISOs should conduct regular security trainings to make current employees vigilant toward cyber hacks and schemes. Did they receive a suspicious email? Then they shouldn’t click on any URL or download attachments. Because hackers can expertly impersonate company email addresses and templates, employees need to be trained about address typos that could signal a scam.

Increasing cloud adoption raises other concerns about cloud security for a growing number of companies that have lost proprietary data across a longer timeframe by disgruntled former or current employees, who should have to think twice about acting out against their employers.

If caught, those who deliberately harm a business may be in for some tedious prison time. A sysadmin from Baton Rouge, for example, was sentenced to 34 months in federal prison for causing substantial damage to his former employer, a Georgia-Pacific paper mill, by remotely accessing its computer systems and messing with commands. Obviously, access from all systems and networks associated with the company should have been revoked when the man was fired.

“To limit the risks of insider sabotage and user error, companies must establish strong policies and protocols, and restrict the ways employees use equipment and infrastructure or privileges inside the company network,” recommends Bogdan Botezatu, senior e-threat specialist at Bitdefender. “The IT department must create policies for proper use of the equipment, and ensure they are implemented.”

Here are five steps CISOs can take to avoid insider sabotage:

  1. Enforce a strict information security policy, and run regular training sessions with employees to prevent malware infection of company networks.
  2. Immediately revoke all access and suspend certificates for former employees to prevent them from leaving the company with backups and confidential data, or from making administrative changes before leaving the company.
  3. Keep a close eye on internal systems and processes, and set up notifications for any changes that should occur.
  4. Implement role-based access control to restrict access to unauthorized employees.
  5. Never rely solely on usernames and passwords to safeguard confidential company data. Instead, implement multiple authentication methods such as two-factor, two-person or even biometric authentication.
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