Insider threats refer to the risk of harm that people can cause within an organization, such as employees, contractors, or business partners, who have authorized access to the organization’s assets and information. Insider threats can be intentional (e.g., theft of intellectual property or sabotage) or unintentional (e.g., accidentally exposing sensitive information or inadvertently introducing malware into the network).
Insider threats can be a significant concern for banks and other financial institutions. These threats can come in the form of employees, contractors, or business partners who have authorized access to the organization’s systems and data, but who misuse that access for malicious purposes. Some examples of insider threats faced by the banking sector include:
Employees who intentionally or accidentally expose sensitive information, such as customer data or financial records, to unauthorized parties.
Employees who steal sensitive data for personal gain, such as by selling it on the black market or using it to commit fraud.
Employees who use their access to disrupt operations or steal from the organization, either directly or through the use of malware or other cyberattacks.
Contractors or business partners who have access to the organization’s systems and data and who use that access to gain an unfair advantage or to harm the organization.
To mitigate these risks, banks and financial institutions can implement a range of measures, including employee training and awareness programs, technical controls to monitor and restrict access to sensitive data, and robust incident response and recovery processes
In the banking sector, insider threats can take many forms, including employees who deliberately or unintentionally disclose sensitive information, steal assets, or engage in other activities that harm the organization. Insider threats can also include contractors or business partners who have access to the organization’s systems and resources.
Insider threats can have significant financial and reputational consequences for organizations. According to a report by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of an insider threat incident in 2020 was $11.45 million, with a median price of $755,760 per incident. The report also found that insider-associated incidents accelerated by 47% in the past year.
Insider threats can be challenging to detect and prevent because the perpetrators often have authorized access to the organization’s assets and information. As a result, organizations need to implement robust access controls to mitigate the risk of insider threats, continuously monitor for unusual activity, provide employees with training on cybersecurity best practices, implement technical rules, and conduct thorough background checks on employees and contractors.
There are several steps that banks can take to mitigate insider threats:
- Establish clear policies and procedures: It is important to have clear policies in place that outline acceptable and unacceptable behavior, as well as the consequences for violating these policies.
- Conduct background checks: Banks should conduct thorough background checks on all employees and contractors to identify any potential red flags.
- Implement access controls: Access controls can help prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information and systems. This can include measures such as password management and two-factor authentication.
- Monitor employee activity: Banks should have systems in place to monitor employee activity on a regular basis, including monitoring of emails and other communications.
- Provide training: Training can help employees understand the importance of protecting sensitive information and how to identify and report potential insider threats.
Overall, managing insider threat requires a combination of technical controls and strong policies and procedures, as well as ongoing employee education and awareness.
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Related tags: Insider Threat, Bank and Finance, Unauthorized Party, Policies, Procedures, Technical Control, Awareness, Implement access controls, Ponemon Institute