IT frauds could be disastrous for organizations if not curbed at the outset. According to a survey conducted by CFE (Certified Fraud Examiners), global organizations witness a 5% loss in their annual revenues due to internal IT frauds.
The major challenge is that proliferation of internal IT fraudulent activities typically go unnoticed and undetected for a longer period. It costs a bomb to organizations beleaguering their financial conditions and puts a big question mark on their reputation.
A single IT fraud can be catastrophic if adequate measures are not taken on time.
Types of Internal IT frauds – Reasons
Large organizations and SMBs face various kinds of fraudulent activities internally that leave long-lasting consequences. One of the main reasons for internal fraud is that organizations often fail to keep a check on end user activities. Not only do security staff fail to identify the fraudulent activities but they are also incapable of learning the patterns behind the data abuse or misuse.
From IT security perspective, the major fradulences are as below:
- Manipulation of data: Internal users end up manipulating data if he/ she wishes to conceal his/ her mistake or malicious activity while performing any task, and to avoid any kind of punitive actions.
- Malicious Intention: Malicious insiders and sometimes compromised third parties that have access to the systems, exploit the IT security vulnerabilities especially in the access control management and steal data, mainly for financial gains. Even other white-collar crimes like skimming of virtual money happens due to poor access control management and inadequate monitoring.
- Cyber Espionage: In this act, organized cyber criminal groups or malicious third party users collide with some ‘compromised’ insider to extract confidential information for social engineering and zero day attacks. This occurs frequently in government organizations to acquire intellectual property, highly sensitive information and strategic blueprints.
- Data Theft: Typically, the culprits behind data theft incidents are organized cyber criminal groups or malicious third party users. However, it has been observed in the last few years that internal users are also responsible for data theft incidents. Lackadaisical attitude towards following IT security policies, including poor access control and sometimes, inadequate knowledge of robust IT solutions that can protect data, results in data theft.
How to Prevent – The Remedies
During the pandemic, many organizations globally have shifted their IT security gear towards predictive measures. With this, organizations can stay proactive in identifying the risky user behavioural profiles and take timely action to prevent data breaches. The advent of advanced and sophisticated technologies like Big data and cloud computing have resulted in multiple and frequent changes in the IT threat patterns.
Benefits of Predictive Security Measures
Predictive user behavioural analytics is the use of end-user data with the help of artificial intelligence and machine-learning techniques to identify and detect the possible risks in future outcomes based on historical data. Predictive security measures enable the IT security teams to answer the below critical questions.
- Is there any anomaly in end users’ activities?
- What is happening with anomalous activities?
- What’s the data patterns and the context behind suspicious events?
In order to vouch for the credibility of the business and the organization, these questions need to be answered. If organizations have a typical distributed IT environment, where the number of end users are large in numbers, the risk multiplies automatically. However, adequate predictive IT security measures in the policies can build a different picture altogether.
Due to the recent pandemic and other factors, the number of devices is exploding significantly across the globe as organizations look to build a digital infrastructure. Amid increasing pace of digitalization, however, the number of digital identities is going to skyrocket in no time. While the world has 7 billion people, the number of devices has gone up to 15 billion and is expected to reach 50 billion in the next ten years. Hence, protecting these identities from malicious elements through predictive analytics is highly important.
Is it ever possible to completely eradicate Internal IT frauds? Until we do not have proper user behavioural assessment mechanisms in place round the clock, we are surely at the risk of losing confidentiality of critical data assets. It eventually impacts on the regular business processes and on larger consequences, affects brand reputation and credibility.