Insider Threat Warning as Over Half of Firms Predict IP Theft Rise

Insider Threat Warning as Over Half of Firms Predict IP Theft Rise

Malicious insiders represent the biggest threat to corporate IP, with cyber theft likely to increase over the next year, according to a new poll from Deloitte.

The global consultancy asked over 2500 participants of a cybersecurity webcast held last month about the security of intellectual property inside the organization.

More than half (58%) are expecting an increase in attacks, with “employees or other insiders” (20%) most likely to carry them out.

Industries predicted to be targeted more than most include power and utilities (69%); telecoms (69%); industrial products & services (65%); and automotive (64%).

Interestingly, insiders are suspected of attempting IP theft more than competitors (16%), activists (12%), third parties (12%) or nation states (10%).

Yet unfortunately, only 17% of respondents claimed that access to IP is limited on a need-to-know basis. Over a third (36%) claimed their organization was in a “building” phase – that is, currently working to strengthen protocols and systems.

Almost half (44%) said that managing investor/customer relationships and assessing the impact of IP loss would be the biggest impacts of a cyber heist – highlighting areas where organizations are still lacking.

Deloitte urged IT leaders to first define what an insider threat is, before auditing privileged functions at random, and monitoring/correlating “potential risk indicators” to spot the early signs of a threat to IP.

This program should evolve with the tools and tactics of malicious insiders, and at all times employees should be reminded via consistently enforced policies of the behavioral standards expected of them, Deloitte said.

“Predicting IP data theft is tough, as adversaries don't fit one specific mold,” argued Deloitte cyber threat risk management practice leader, Adnan Amjad.

“A robust insider threat mitigation program leverages a broad set of stakeholders to define potential insider threats and risk appetite, establish appropriate policies, procedures, controls and training and utilizes the combination of business knowledge, virtual and non-virtual data and technology to more effectively safeguard vital information."

According to the PwC Information Security Breaches Survey 2015, only 10% of incidents were caused by “intentional” inside actors during the report period, as opposed to 26% ascribed to “accidental” insiders, although this covered all types of data breaches.

Source: Information Security Magazine