Contact us

Insider Threats: How does this work?

3-05-2023 | Fady Oueslati

Insider Threats

An insider threat is one of the most common and dangerous type of security risks, yet they are often overlooked in traditional security procedures. Insider threats involve current or former employees or business acquaintances who have access to company resources or company data and use this access in a malicious or negligent way.

Examples of insider threats include malicious insiders, negligent insiders, and moles. Additionally, there are certain indicators of malicious insider threats that organizations should be aware of. In this article, written by our consultant  Fady Oueslati, we will discuss how to minimize the possibility of insider threats.

What is an insider threat?

A security risk known as an insider threat comes from within the targeted company. It usually involves a current or former employee or business acquaintance who uses their access to private data or privileged accounts on an organization’s network in a malicious or negligent way.

Traditional security procedures frequently concentrate on external threats and frequently fail to recognize an internal threat that originates within the firm.

Some examples of insider threats are:

  • Malicious insider, also referred to as a Turncloak, is a person who willfully and maliciously abuses legitimate credentials, frequently to steal data for monetary or personal gain. For instance, a person with a grudge against a former employer or a shrewd employee who sells confidential knowledge to a rival. Turncloaks have an advantage over other attackers since they are acquainted with an organization’s security rules, procedures, and weaknesses.
  • A negligent insider exposes the system to dangers from the outside while acting as an innocent pawn. This is the most prevalent kind of insider threat and is brought on by errors like leaving a screen unlocked or falling for a phishing mail. For instance, a worker who has no malice in mind might click on an unsafe link and introduce malware into the system.
  • A mole is an informant who has managed to get insider access to a restricted network despite being a formal outsider. This is a person from outside the company who poses as a partner or employee.

Indicators of a malicious insider threat

Unusual network activity may be a sign of an internal threat. Additionally, if a worker displays signs of unhappiness or resentment or begins to take on a lot of assignments that give them access to restricted data, these could be signs of wrongdoing.

The following are trackable insider danger indicators:

  • Strange activity, like logging on to machines at strange times
  • Large amounts of data being moved around (possibly to externals)
  • Accessing unexpected resources

The following actions can be taken to minimize the possibility of insider threats:

1. Protect important resources

Important resources also include intellectual property, which includes proprietary software, schematics, customer data for vendors, and internal manufacturing procedures. Develop a thorough understanding of your important resources. To do this, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are our most important resources?
  • How can we properly organize/manage these resources?
  • What do we know about the current condition of these resources?

With this understanding, consider putting in place a system to monitor these resources and manage access to these resources.

2. Ensure that organizational policies are well documented so that you can enforce them and avoid misconceptions.

To prevent sharing of privileged content that they have developed, everyone in the organization needs to be aware of security protocols and understand their rights in connection to intellectual property. With the right tooling, it is also possible to manage access to resources based on the role an employee has in the company.

3. Increase visibility by implementing tools that monitor access to data

For instance, there are tools that closely monitor company data, and specifically who accesses/moves that data. If an employee is moving/changing large amounts of data, these tools can generate alerts to allow for action to be taken.


In conclusion, to protect against insider threats, organizations should invest in security measures to protect their important resources and ensure that organizational policies are well documented. Additionally, organizations should increase visibility by implementing tools that monitor access to data and combine data from various data sources to detect possible insider threats. With the right security measures in place, organizations can ensure that their confidential data is protected from malicious insiders and other insider threats.

Reduce Risk, Create Value!


Share this page! Choose your platform