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As the name suggests, an insider threat does not involve a third party but an insider.
Insider threats are a vital cybersecurity problem for many organizations. According to the Ponemon Institute 2020 Cost of Insider Threats Global Report [PDF], the number of insider threat incidents has increased by 47% in just two years, from 3,200 in 2018 to 4,716 in 2020.
At the same time, the total average cost of a threat increased by 31%: from $8.76 in 2017 to $11.45 million in 2019.
The 2021 Insider Threat Report by Cybersecurity Insiders states that 98% of organizations feel vulnerable to insider attacks. And that’s quite understandable — we saw lots of insider attacks in 2021.
Privileged business users and executives — C-level executives have access to your organization’s most confidential and sensitive information. This category of users may abuse their knowledge for insider trading, personal gain, or corporate or government espionage.
Regular employees — Regular users have limited capabilities compared to privileged users, but they still can harm your organization. For instance, they can misuse corporate data, install unauthorized applications, send confidential emails to the wrong address, or become a victim of a phishing attack.
Third parties and temporary workers — Vendors, business partners, and temps may not follow cybersecurity rules and practices implemented in your organization or may violate them unknowingly. Also, there’s always a risk of hackers breaching your third-party vendor with a low level of security to get inside your protected perimeter.