Insider Threats Are Rising. Here’s What You Should Do

Insider Threats Are Rising. Here's What You Should Do

While the rate of insider threats seems ever-growing, companies keep having a hard time modifying their IT security strategies and keeping them in check. They spend a massive amount of their resources addressing the issue. 

According to research by the Ponemon Institute, there has been a 44% rise in the rate of insider threats over the last two years. Remediation costs rose from $11.45 million to $15.38 million this year. To avoid such a setback, business owners must know what the daunting buzz is about and what to do to stop it. 

What are Insider Threats?

Insider threats are cyberattacks that stem from individuals who have access to a company’s sensitive information. They include agents, partners, ex-workers, or even current employees, who knowingly or otherwise attack the company they work for. 

They misuse their privilege to access corporate assets and expose the company’s data and network devices. While this might happen without malicious intent, the baseline is that the company’s confidential details have been compromised.

Types of Insider Threats 


An inadvertent employee can also be called a pawn. They are but a victim of the malicious activities of cybercriminals. They might be tricked into downloading malware or convinced to release data meant to be undisclosed. Pawns fall into traps like phishing and end up putting the whole organisation through an unintended doom.


Goofs are a category of employees found in most companies. They are workers who try to bypass necessary protocols to protect the company against cyber criminals. Their intentions are not malicious, but their unprotected activities expose the company to insider threats. Some believe they are above the policies, while others think they can’t fall for such tricks.


Collaborators are individuals with legal access to your company’s systems but give their loyalty to a third party. They most times work with your competitors and disclose information that might put your organisation in harm’s way. 

Lone Wolf

A lone wolf is not part of a criminal pack, but his intentions are not decent either. Lone wolves are authorised users who plan to independently exploit their access to confidential information for financial and personal gain.

The Cost of an Insider Threat

Insider threats hijack a massive amount of your resources as the data breaches are hard to contain. The remediation cost, however, depends on the type of insider threats a company faces. 

On the Ponemon Institute full report, a single goof or pawn-dependent insider threat would cost about $484,931, which rises to about $648,062 in the case of a lone wolf or a collaborator attack. However, the size of your company will also influence the hit on your resources. Large businesses lose millions while containing insider threats. 

How To Prevent Insider Threats

User Behaviour Analytics

User Behaviour Analytics is one of the best security services to employ when avoiding insider threats. It helps detect abnormal behaviours among employees and alerts the proper authorities.

It uses artificial intelligence to monitor and save data on a worker’s normal behaviours. Then, it compares them to recent activities, pinpoints anything unusual, and sends real-time notifications. It also detects security breaches, compromised data, and other disagreeable activities. 

Employee Awareness

Employee awareness is another strategic step to take if a company is to stop insider threats. With the proper training, your employees will know enough to avoid being pawns to cyber criminals. They will be able to differentiate official messages from trusted sources from traps set by phishers. 

Goofs should know the magnitude of the risks they take, and their activities should also be closely monitored to ensure they follow the company’s policies. 

Adequate Communication Among Security Personnel and HR

The HR and those in the IT department have to be able to work in sync if insider threats are to be stopped. Cases of disgruntled ex-employees still having access to companies’ confidential details are rampant. HR should ensure that IT revokes all privileges held by former workers once their services are no longer required. 

Keeping the IT uninformed might lead to these ex-workers stealing data or disrupting business operations for vengeance. 

Establish Account Policies and Access Management Practices

Multi-factor authentication should be encouraged to ensure the safety of important information. It is more challenging to break through and also gives the company a chance to prepare a counterattack or stop the breach entirely. 

Individuals will only gain access if all the identity mechanisms like OTPs or fingerprints are authenticated. If this is time-consuming, passwordless authentication is available as an alternative.  

Strong Physical Security Around the Company

Having your work environment properly secured will go a long way in preventing insider threats. This can be in the form of security guards, cameras, effective door locks, and more. 

Contact Us for Help Managing Your Security Services

If you need help managing your security services, our professionals at GKM2 can help. Please fill out our contact form or call +61 2 9161 7171.