Which is worse – an external cyberattack or an insider threat? A Sophie’s Choice situation to be sure. But according to a survey of IT professionals, there is a clear answer.
The 2020 Insider Threat Report from Cybersecurity Insiders found that 52% of IT pros think that insider threats are more difficult to detect and prevent than external cyberattacks. Only 10% of those canvassed thought that external attacks are more challenging.
Insider threats and external cyberattacks are both serious problems. Organizations should invest more in manpower, technology and training to combat these dangers. It is certainly still necessary for businesses to defend against traditional threats that originate from outside the environment, like malware and ransomware. But insider threats require a different approach. That’s because insiders already know where your sensitive data exists and how to access it.
Complicating the matter is that not all insider threats are the same. They could be malicious, like an employee bent on damaging his employer to “get back at them”. They could also be accidental, like a normally dependable employee who falls for a social engineering scam. But they could even be an external attacker who appears to be an insider. That happens when a hacker manages to steal a user’s credentials. He then leverages those credentials to look like a legitimate employee doing routine work. But in reality he’s engaged in cyber-espionage to find valuable data.
Regardless of the insider threat persona, businesses must take action against such attacks. And that means investing in an Insider Threat Detection program. What are the elements of such a program? Here are the key components:
Detect Suspicious Behavior Immediately
You can’t wait until after the breach occurs. You need to be able to identify insider threats in real-time so that you can head off the damage. To that end, Gurucul Risk Analytics (GRA) allows IT security staff to detect suspicious behavior associated with fraud, misuse of business assets, data theft, or IT sabotage.
Identify High-Risk Profiles and Threats
Humans could never possibly monitor all the employees in a large enterprise to identify risky behavior. But GRA can do it for you automatically and alert you to the employees who pose the biggest dangers. GRA uses machine learning algorithms with event correlation, enrichment, data mining, and purpose-built analytics to detect high-risk profiles of people and machines. It can even identify human behavioral events that reveal risky patterns that an insider threat might execute.
Monitor and Manage Cyber Threats
An Insider Threat Detection Program should also include detailed monitoring, reporting, and scoring tools. That makes it easier for your security and forensic staff to watch, detect, and manage different types of insider threats. Gurucul Risk Analytics performs continuous risk scoring based on historic and current behavior. It can generate real-time risk prioritized alerts for incident analysis. These dynamic risk scores can also trigger an automated risk-response workflow.
Other Benefits of an Insider Threat Detection Program
A mature Insider Threat Detection Program also has ancillary benefits:
- By normalizing large amounts of heterogeneous event data, an organization can understand the depth of risk.
- The ability to detect threats allows businesses to mature roles-based access controls. Likewise, it aligns the information security and compliance control infrastructure around that which is truly vulnerable.
- Insider threats often follow the same patterns. Knowing these patterns helps fine tune your insider threat detection program to respond to threats more quickly.
Protecting your enterprise from insider threats is now a cybersecurity best practice. To learn more, request a demo to see how we can help you establish an insider threat detection program.
If you’re interested in delving deeper into the 2020 Insider Threat Report, download a copy at gurucul.com/2020-insider-threat-survey-report.