SEI Insights

Insider Threat Blog

Real-World Work Combating Insider Threats

Hello, this is Randy Trzeciak, technical team lead for the Insider Threat Research Team at the CERT Insider Threat Center. This blog post is intended to serve as a reminder to organizations about the impact that an organization's actions can have on employees. Additionally, I want you to ask yourself the following question, what are you doing to manage employee expectations during negative workplace events?

The mission of the CERT Insider Threat Lab, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Federal Network Security Branch, is to create new technical controls and standards based on our research, as well as to determine lessons learned from our hands-on work doing assessments, workshops, and working with technical security practitioners.

Hi, this is George Silowash and recently, I had the opportunity to review our insider threat database looking for a different type of insider threat to the enterprise...paper. Yes, paper. In particular, printouts and devices that allow for extraction of digital information to paper or the management of paper documents. This area is often overlooked in enterprise risk assessments and I thought I would share some information regarding this type of attack.

Hi, this is Randy Trzeciak, technical team lead for the Insider Threat Outreach & Transition group at the Insider Threat Center at CERT. Since 2001, our team has been collecting information about malicious insider activity within U.S. organizations. In each of the incidents we have collected, the insider was found guilty in a U.S. court of law.

One of the most damaging ways an insider can compromise an organization is by stealing its intellectual property (IP). An organization cannot underestimate the value of its secrets, product plans, and customer lists. In our recent publication, An Analysis of Technical Observations in Insider Theft of Intellectual Property Cases, we took a critical look at the technical aspects of cases in which insiders who stole IP from their organization. Insiders commit these crimes for various reasons such as for the benefit of another entity, to gain a competitive business advantage, to start a competing organization or firm, or for the personal financial gain. By understanding the specific technical methods that insiders use to steal information, organizations can consider gaps in their network implementation and can identify ways to improve controls that protect their IP.

This entry is part of a series of "deep dives" into insider threat. The previous entry focused on IT sabotage.

Hi, this is Chris King. From our research, we realized that malicious insiders do not all fit into a single category. We found that there are individuals who steal or commit fraud for financial gain, others who steal intellectual property because of a sense of entitlement or to obtain a position with a competitor, and some who want to exact revenge against an organization because they are angry. We noticed a pattern in the ways insiders acted and were able to separate them into three main categories of crime: IT sabotage, theft of intellectual property (IP), and fraud. This update focuses on theft of IP.

Physical access to an organization's secure areas, equipment, or materials containing sensitive data may make it easier for a malicious insider to commit a crime. Therefore, an organization's physical security controls are often just as important as its technical security controls. This entry reviews some real case examples of physical security issues as well as some physical security controls.

Hello, this is George Silowash from the Insider Threat Center at CERT. I had the opportunity to attend RSA Conference 2011 with two of my colleagues, Dawn Cappelli and Joji Montelibano. Insider threat was a popular topic at the conference this year--vendors discussed it in sales pitches, and security practitioner presentations focused on the problem. In addition to being speakers at the conference, staff members from the Insider Threat Center were there to gather ideas of what is being done in industry to address insider threats. This entry describes some of the strategies that organizations are using.