Recognizing internal threats

Corporate data leaks are the most dangerous threat to IT security today – a fact evidenced by industry development trends, company survey results, market analyses, and related studies.

Internal threats include any harmful actions with data that violate at least one of the fundamental principles of information security (integrity, availability, and confidentiality) and originate from within a company’s information system.

While there are many different kinds of internal threats, the most common are:

  • any violations of internal network security rules and procedures that could lead to data theft
  • unauthorized searches or viewing, modification, or destruction of confidential data
  • brute force password attacks and user installation of Trojans, rootkits and other malicious programs on the network
  • targeted data theft using removable storage media such as HDDs, USB Flash devices, card readers, or CDs/DVDs in order to copy and carry
  • theft of devices containing confidential data: laptops, hard drives, handheld computers, etc.
  • theft of corporate databases in whole or in part
  • unauthorized installation of Wi-Fi network connections in order to extract confidential data
  • printing important documents in order to remove hard copies from company premises.

These are just a few of the many different kinds of internal threats…

Confidential data breaches are directly connected to business operations risks, since a company can suffer major damage as the result of a data leak:

  • clients may be lost if the client base is leaked
  • technologies may be lost if technological secrets are leaked
  • founders and investors will be displeased if financial information is leaked
  • licenses could be lost of confidential data is not properly protected in compliance with federal requirements.

Even worse, a company’s business reputation will be tarnished, which could mean suspending operations – or even closing down completely.