What is a malicious insider?
A malicious insider is a person who has insider knowledge of an organization’s proprietary information and intentionally misuses it to negatively impact the integrity of the business.
This person could be a current or former employee, contractor, or business partner.
How to recognize a malicious insider threat?
Both humans and technology can recognize malicious insider threats.
A company’s personnel can serve as a primary line of threat detection as peers that regularly interact with a potential malicious insider are likely to notice changes in behavior, personality, and motivations that can signal a possible security threat.
Technology can help detect insider threats through:
- User activity monitoring
- Incident investigations
- Access management
- User and behavior analytics
Malicious insider threat examples
Some common insider threat examples are:
- A recently fired employee selling sensitive information to a competitor.
- A disgruntled employee exposing trade secrets to the public.
- An employee that deletes important records and information to breach compliance regulation.
Common malicious insider techniques
Malicious insiders can carry out attacks in many ways and for many reasons, but a common theme amongst all the techniques is monetary or personal gain. Four common techniques are:
- Fraud: Wrongful or criminal use of sensitive data and information for the purpose of deception.
- Intellectual Property Theft: The theft of an organization's intellectual property, often to be sold for monetary gain.
- Sabotage: The insider uses their employee access to damage or destroy organizational systems or data.
- Espionage: The theft of information on behalf of another organization, such as a competitor.
How to stop a malicious insider
For many companies, it comes as a surprise that threats from a careless or malicious insider are just as dangerous and as prevalent as attacks from outside the organization. Most IT security teams are well-versed in the dangers of threats like spear-fishing, ransomware and impersonation attacks. But fewer administrators are aware that half of all data breaches, according to a 2017 Forrester report, are traced back to a malicious insider, a careless employee or compromised user.
Stopping insider threats requires a different set of technologies than preventing external email-borne attacks. Threats sent via an internal email, for example, won't pass through a secure email gateway, which might otherwise detect and block email containing malware, malicious URLs or suspicious attachments.
To stop a malicious insider, organizations need solutions for preventing data leaks via email, identifying suspicious content in emails, and blocking internal emails that may spread or trigger an attack. Fortunately, Mimecast provides all-in-one, cloud email protection that addresses all these concerns and others.
How to recover from a malicious insider attack?
Recovering from a malicious insider attack can be difficult especially if the data has been destroyed completely. The best way to recover from an insider attack is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. However, if your organization does experience an attack, the following steps can help you mitigate the damage:
1. Report illegal activity to law enforcement
2. Audit your systems to check for malware or viruses
3. Review the incident and revise security and personnel access protocols.
Blocking a malicious insider with Mimecast
Mimecast provides a SaaS-based solution for information security management that simplifies email security, archiving, continuity, compliance, e-Discovery, and backup and recovery. Available as a subscription service, Mimecast's solution involves no hardware or software purchase and no capital investment – services are delivered from Mimecast's cloud platform for predictable monthly cost.
Mimecast solutions are easy to use, too. Administrators can manage and configure them from a single pane of glass with a web-based interface, while end users throughout the company benefit from fast archive searches, secure messaging services, and email security that doesn't impact performance.
To address the problem of a malicious insider, Mimecast's Internal Email Protect service automatically monitors all email leaving the organization as well as email sent internally. Using sophisticated email scanning technology, Mimecast helps to spot emails with suspicious content as well as malicious URLs and weaponized attachments. To remediate threats from a malicious insider, Mimecast can delete or block suspicious emails. For emails determined to contain sensitive material but not malicious intent, Mimecast can require the user to send emails using a Secure Messaging portal.
Benefits of Mimecast services for thwarting a malicious insider
With Mimecast technology to stop a malicious insider, organizations can:
- Successfully block threats and stop sensitive data from leaving the organization and causing damage to reputation or compromising customers.
- Automatically find and remove internal email containing threats.
- Mitigate the risk of a successful breach spreading throughout the organization via email.
- Simplify email management with a single console for reporting, configuring and managing email across the organization.
- Combine technology for stopping a malicious insider with data loss protection for preventing leaks and information protection services for sending email and large attachments securely.
Learn more about stopping threats from a malicious insider with Mimecast.