Insider Threats Tactics: Preventing and Mitigating Insider Threats

Blog, 07/12/2021

Insider attacks are still one of the most serious problems in cybersecurity. Consequently, the significance of continual cybersecurity and insider threat education is essential for smart company leaders. They understand that their entire workforce needs to become educated on the necessity of cybersecurity and insider threat protection, and best practices. Unfortunately, employees may not be acting deliberately, but they may be jeopardizing their company's data.

This article will closely look at the topic, tapping on everything there is to know about insider threat tactics.

Defining Insider Threats

An insider threat is a malicious threat to a firm that originates within the organization. Workers, former employees, contractors, or business associates with access to inside information about security, data, or computer systems could be considered insider threats.

When people think about insider threats, they usually think of rogue or dissatisfied staff intentionally committing hostile deeds. However, employees may pose an insider danger due to their ignorance or negligence, which firms fail to include in their IT security plan.

As a consequence, organizations must get prepared for any eventuality. Fortunately, as you will see later on, there are certain techniques for dealing with insider threats and preventing them in the future.

Types of Insider Threats

Insider threats are usually classified based on the part they play in the attack and the goal they are pursuing:

  • Malicious Insider: Also known as a Turncloak, uses valid credentials maliciously and knowingly to steal information for financial or personal gain. Because they are familiar with an organization's security rules and procedures and its vulnerabilities, turncloaks have an advantage over other attackers.
  • Careless Insider: This threat is an unwitting pawn who unintentionally exposes the system to external attackers. A careless insider is the most common sort of insider threat, and it occurs as a result of human error, such as leaving a gadget unattended or falling prey to a hoax.
  • A mole is an imposter who has gained insider access to a privileged network despite being an outsider. This threat is someone who impersonates an employee or partner from outside the company.

Insider Threat Techniques to Be Aware OfInsider threat techniques can get divided into four key categories:

Data Theft

Data theft is perhaps the most common and diverse form of insider threat tactic. Financial gain, revenge by a disgruntled employee, industrial espionage, or hacktivism are all possible motivations for obtaining sensitive information. You can also carry out this strategy in various ways, such as transmitting data to a private email account or photographing important papers.

Abuse of Privilege

Users with elevated access rights can take advantage of sensitive resources in various ways, including uploading data to an unprotected cloud service, creating a backdoor, and editing or deleting activity logs. Because privileged insiders have numerous opportunities to conceal their behavior, this form of insider threat is extremely difficult to identify.

Escalating Access Privileges

Because average users' access rights are frequently limited, it can be difficult to harm an organization, but it is not impossible. A trusted user can get enough privileges to access — and abuse — protected resources if access does not get managed properly. Exploiting security software flaws and setup problems is another approach to increase access privileges.


The purpose for attempting to harm an organization's assets might range from employee retaliation for unfair treatment to a desire to blackmail a company, a competitor's division, or even a different state. Saboteurs, unlike other types of insider threat attackers, rarely take data. They would rather destroy the organization's infrastructure elements, remove or corrupt data, or physically harm business equipment.

Strategies for Mitigating Insider Threat Risks

After tapping the most common insider threat tactics, it is time for some good news. Here are some strategies for detecting and mitigating insider threats.

Monitoring and Tracking User Activity

One of the most common insider threat detection strategies is to monitor user activities within your network. Monitoring software keeps track of overall user behavior and compares it to security policies. The program delivers an alert to security officials or IT managers when a user breaks a regulation.

Coordinating IT Security and HR

Miscommunication between IT and HR is the cause of many security issues. If IT departments are not informed about layoffs promptly, they are also unaware that you must revoke access and privileges. Disgruntled ex-employees can use their credentials to steal data, erase data, and launch various attacks during this time.

When HR and IT departments communicate effectively, they may alert one another and avoid insider threat occurrences in the first place.

Training the Employees

Conducting frequent anti-phishing training is a great method for lowering the number of pawns. You can, for example, send phishing emails to different individuals to observe who recognizes them as phishing scams and who does not. After that, you can concentrate on training people who did not recognize the email as a phishing attempt. This training can help to minimize the number of pawns available.

Putting Together a Threat Hunting Unit

Many projects choose to create their threat hunting teams. A threat hunting team actively seeks out threats rather than passively reacting to occurrences after they occur. These threat hunters, who are frequently members of the security team, look for signals that could indicate data theft or other disruptions before they occur.

Setting Up Technical Controls

Technical controls, which get designed to analyze and identify questionable user behavior, can be set up by organizations. Technical controls have grown in popularity, largely due to their ability to compare user behavior to previous acts and detect abnormal behaviors.


Insider threats occur in a variety of sizes and shapes. They can be malicious or unintentional, well-intentioned or opportunistic, aggressive or quiet, hidden or obvious. Each insider threat strategy necessitates a threat detection mechanism. Using a separate dedicated tool for each threat detection method might be resource-intensive and lead to confusion in your security system.

Consider Werbot in this regard. Werbot has several useful tools that make management a lot easier. To begin boosting your security with Werbot, request a demo or a free trial today.
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