Insider threat: The most dreaded IT disruption is preventable

Some of the most high profile data breach incidents from recent times have originated from malicious corporate insiders. Financial gains, military intelligence, and political snooping are some of the examples of malefactor’s motive behind an attack on data assets. As the data which is being targeted is highly-sensitive in nature, the impact of an insider attack typically is irreversible.

Did you know that Privileged Account is the primary source of data leaks? This powerful administrative account which provides access to business-critical information stored in applications and servers is the most vulnerable IT asset. One privileged password abuse can bring down the entire IT infrastructure. That’s why enterprises are reinforcing the access control mechanism. Password Vaulting, Multi-Factor Authentication along with granular level access control approach have emerged as the cornerstone of robust security. However, in this ever-expanding IT environment, there needs to be a proper mechanism in place which could promptly detect and raise a red flag on who is likely to misuse the access rights to confidential information.

Needless to say, careful monitoring of User Behavior and analytics around that is of paramount importance to know from where the next attack is coming. For instance, real-time monitoring tools help to answer some serious security concerns such as:

  • Is the end-user doing what was being asked?
  • Is the end-user deviating from baseline activities?
  • Is the end-user doing something anomalous or suspicious?

As we observe from some recent incidents, this imminent threat exists in all industries irrespective of organizations’ size and business.

  • A malicious insider from a premium automobile company sabotaged systems and transferred data to unauthorized third parties
  • A malicious insider from a popular global food & beverages company stole a hard drive full of sensitive personal data
  • A malicious insider from a well-known bank stole the personal information of 1.5 million customers to help a community of organized cybercriminals

How can we prevent misuse of privileged accounts?

Types of Malicious Insiders

Some common types of malicious insiders that organizations always worry about are:

  • Disgruntled Employees: Unhappy or unsatisfied employees with an intention to take revenge often pose a threat to organizations.
  • Suspicious inside agents: These are the most harmful categories as they pose to be trustworthy apparently with their behavior but nurture a malicious intent behind the disguise.

How does the threat vector expand?

Being an insider there is always an additional advantage for employees to access on-prem servers and applications. In the ‘New Global Normal’ owing to the pandemic, WFH (Work From Home) is not unusual. If on-prem IT infrastructure is constantly threatened, what could be the scenario for remote work conditions? Definitely there are enough reasons to raise alarm bells.

Predict, Protect and Prevent insider threats

“Prevention is better than Cure!” – Going by this age-old proverb, the crux of IT security is facing swift metamorphosis in terms of technologies and IT strategies. Due to the abrupt transformation of the IT environment, the global CIO community is turning their eyes more towards risk-predictive solutions rather than risk-preventive solutions. As a result, device-centric security is taking a back seat and user behaviour centric security is taking the front seat. It is more applicable to privileged identities that are the gateways to confidential business information. In this backdrop, ARCON suggests the most pertinent ways to mitigate this imminent risk with the help of User Behaviour Analytics (UBA) and Privileged Access Management (PAM) which includes real-time session monitoring and risk analytics features.

  • ARCON | User Behaviour Analytics: The tool ensures real-time monitoring on IT users. By configuring a centralized IT policy framework and by applying role and rule-based application access controls over end-users, the security and compliance management team can detect risky behaviour profiles that deviate from the configured baseline activities.
  • Session Monitoring with ARCON | Privileged Access Management (PAM): The Live Dashboard for a real-time view of each and every privileged activity across IT Infrastructure provides a comprehensive mapping of privileged users. Live view of critical activities performed by administrators ensures no anomalous activity goes unnoticed and suspicious activity is flagged and fixed on a real-time basis.
  • ARCON Knight Analytics: The intelligence gathered from logged data history by this AI & ML enabled tool analyzes users, user groups, service groups to understand both deviance from baseline activities and the risky IT behavior patterns whilst AI predicts risk scores/ risk percentage of each activity. The AI tool’s predictive model thus helps the security and risk assessment team to make well-informed decisions to safeguard critical information/ privileged identities from getting compromised.

The Bottom line:

In the modern IT threat landscape, organizations need to be proactive rather than reactive to detect and mitigate insider threats. Most data breach incidents stem from weak access control and poor monitoring of the end-users. In this month of “Insider Threat Awareness”, organizations can build the foundation for a robust Identity and Access Control Management to minimize the chances of malicious activities in and around the enterprise network periphery.

ARCON is a leading enterprise risk control solutions provider, specializing in risk-predictive technologies. ARCON | User Behaviour Analytics enables to monitor end-user activities in real time. ARCON | Privileged Access Management reinforces access control and mitigates data breach threats. ARCON | Endpoint Privilege Management mitigates risks arising out of endpoints. ARCON | Secure Compliance Management is a vulnerability assessment tool.

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