What Is An Insider Threat And How To Prevent It | Everything You Need To Know About Insider Threat Protection

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Insider threat protection is rapidly becoming a very important service for businesses and enterprises, and the reasons for this are numerous.

What Is An Insider Threat And How To Prevent It

What Is An Insider Threat

An insider threat is a security breach – purposeful or unintended – that comes from within an organization or its wider ecosystem (partners, contractors, etc.). It implements a current or former employee or business colleague who has unauthorized access to classified data or privileged accounts on an organization’s network. To apply a proper insider threat protection technique, you need to take your focus on variations of those threats and their main indicators.

Types Of Insider Threats

  • Insider Spying: a classical type of threat when a malicious internal agent (a turn cloak) purposefully steals valuable data to get a profit by exploiting it;
  • IP Theft: an especially dangerous outcome of spying for intellectual property, which can endanger the whole existing or future business model of a victim;
  • Sabotaging Insider: similar to the above, but with the aim of inflicting damage to data or systems integrity;
  • Ignorant Insider: any type of activity by an unwitting employee falling prey to scams or phishing attacks, which leads to a security breach;
  • Outsider Masked As Insider (Imposter): a sub-type of hacking where “a mole” is able to pretend to be a legitimate employee to perform malicious activities. 

Aside from direct financial losses, possible non-monetary consequences of such security breaches are not less troublesome, and often even more damaging. That is why the true cost of insider threat detection can be initially significantly underestimated until it is too late. 


There are some indicators that help with risk assessment of threats from purposeful insiders:

  • Unusual activity: signing in to networks at unusual times, increases in traffic volume, attempts to gain access to untypical resources or resources with sensitive data;
  • Installation of unauthorized software or malware;
  • Creation of backdoors or tools for remote access;
  • Unauthorized passwords changes;
  • Unauthorized disabling of security tools.

Who Is At Risk Of Insider Threats?

Any organization, whatever advanced, with potentially lucrative resources is at risk of insider threats. And along with business development and growth, any enterprise becomes an increasingly tempting target for attacks.

The more sensitive and valuable data your organization possesses, the higher the risk of insider threats and the bigger the necessity for insider threat monitoring. Additionally, such risks can be greatly amplified by the responsibilities that legal entities bear to protect their data, and by potential brand damage after significant insider attacks. Moreover, risks are aggravated by the growing tendency for remote work. Among especially vulnerable industries are:

  • Governmental facilities;
  • Financial services;
  • Healthcare industry;
  • Telecommunications;
  • Social media services;
  • Blockchain-based decentralized systems of data storage.

Tips On Minimizing The Risks

Insider threat prevention should be systematic, up-to-date, and with constant monitoring. The following vectors of security enforcement should be paid attention to:

1. Merger of insider threat solutions with the general security frame (SIEM);

2. Prioritization of critical assets` protection through identification of key systems, facilities, processes, products, and people;

3. Creation of notifications and blocking measures for detected incidents;

4. Diversification of threat detection strategies in order to balance their effectiveness with minimization of false positives;

5. Proper software, passwords, and account management;

6. Overhaul of hardware and documentation handling practices;

7. Increase control and physical security around critical workspaces;

8. Anonymization of employees’ and contractors` data to make it harder to gather;

9. Enforcement of insider threat detection tools and executed security policies embedded in a company’s culture, so that visibility is added as soon as possible to any detrimental insider activity of current and former employees.

SpinOne Solutions For Insider Threat Detection

Cloud SaaS environments are rapidly growing while remaining vulnerable to insider threats. SpinOne protects against insider threats in Google Workspace, Microsoft Office 365, and Salesforce.

SpinOne offers effective tools for cybersecurity insider threat detection and monitoring to keep in check abnormal activities, data misuse, and other cybersecurity risks within your cloud environment. This provides continuous protection for the cloud data of your enterprise. With the help of SpinOne your company or organization will be able to:

  • View what cloud data is shared;
  • View ownership of files;
  • Control with which users’ data was shared;
  • Implement rules, based on SpinOne security policies, to files;
  • Quickly identify which files are shared with the external public;
  • Detect sharing of sensitive information, like credit card numbers (CCNs), via email;
  • See manageable individual data profiles; 
  • Create reports with data audit with the possibility to export them.

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