As technology develops, the number of monitoring and logging tools available for the protection of your data has also increased. With so many tools at your disposal, detecting any illicit insider activity on your network should be easy enough to identify and deal with, yet it isn’t.

There has been a marked rise in malicious insider attacks because of insiders who commit I.T. sabotage, theft, and fraud, and spy on businesses using authorized access to their system. Since these kinds of hackers extract information by performing the same kind of online actions that they perform daily, the malevolent activity does not appear suspicious.

When data is lost by an insider, your enterprise is faced with a significantly large and destructive threat, so it is very important to have a plan or a strategy that helps you detect, prevent, and block the active threat. There are a number of effective and practical strategies that you can adopt for implementation; these strategies will help you find some great insider threat detection tools.

What are Malicious Insiders?

Before you can get into the threat detection process of an insider attack, you must first understand the term ‘malicious insider’ completely. A malicious insider can be any former or current business partner, contractor or employee who:

  • Used to have or still has authorized access to your corporation’s network, data, or systems
  • Has intentionally misused or exceeded the boundaries of that access in a negative way, affecting the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of your organization’s private data or information systems.

The most commonly witnessed insider attacks are:

  • Insider I.T. Sabotage
  • Theft
  • Fraud

Each of these has an individual set of threat detection tactics that are to be applied in case of a malicious attack.

Insider I.T. Sabotage

These threats are basically crimes that are intended to harm the entire organization or its employed individuals. Most times, they are carried out by disgruntled database or system administrators, bringing down entire systems, disrupting the operations within the organization, or wiping out critical data. Such crimes are frequently witnessed following a termination and they use highly technical processes like planting malicious codes while still employed, using backdoor accounts or misusing passwords that were obtained by inappropriate means. There are a number of ways in which you can pinpoint a potential insider I.T. sabotage. Incorporating the following techniques into your standard security practices can help you stay safe.

Detecting Configuration Changes

Insiders usually plant malicious codes into the O.S. scripts, system utilities, or production plans. There are many open targets and the methods of attacking keep evolving as well. In order to defend against these types of attacks, you can use change-control procedures, detecting any changes to these files in the system easily, since they are very rarely modified.

Perimeter Controls

Organizations can use intrusion detection systems (I.D.S.) to monitor the outbound and inbound traffic on their network. There are a variety of tools that can help in detecting any threats and strengthening the perimeter of your business network. I.D.S.s can create alerts for any suspicious outbound data traffic.

Insider Fraud

These are crimes where the insider uses I.T. for unauthorized addition, modification, or elimination of a business network’s sensitive data for personal gains, or theft of private information which results in fraud (e.g. identity theft).

Such attacks are usually committed by employees that are entry level; often help desk employees or customer support. You can detect these kinds of threats by auditing your database transactions for any kind of malicious or suspicious activity that involves any sensitive information. You can eliminate these threats completely by performing such audits on a regular basis.

Theft of I.P.

These crimes are committed by engineers, programmers or scientists who steal the I.P. they have created, such as scientific formulas, engineering layouts and drawings, or source code. The threat might not appear illicit on the surface, making detection much harder. Try using a practical approach to the monitoring of your data like logging and auditing system logs for queries, email notifications for personal email accounts, monitoring data transfers of large files, and using host-based agents for log activity on laptops or desktops. You can also implement a targeted auditing of logs with employees that have access to sensitive information who resign.

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