The threat of insiders causing physical harm to fellow employees or themselves at an organization is real. In 2015 and 2016 alone, there were shootings in the U.S. by current or former employees in various workplaces, including at a television station in Virginia, a mowing equipment manufacturer in Kansas, an air force base in Texas, a transportation company in Texas, and a supermarket in Pennsylvania. These incidents resulted in seven fatalities and an additional 17 people injured. Additionally, the December 2015 shooting in San Bernadino, a mixture of workplace violence and radicalization, resulted in 14 deaths and 22 people injured.
According to an FBI report on workplace violence, 80 percent of the active-shooter situations that happened in the United States between 2000 and 2013 took place at work. Of those active-shooter incidents cited in the report, more than 46 percent were perpetrated by employees or former employees and 11 percent involved employees who had been terminated that day. The CERT Insider Threat Center conducted two back-to-back research initiatives to gain a deeper understanding of incidents of workplace violence in the context of insider threat. In this blog post, I describe our most recent research initiative to explore the technical detection of intended harm to self and/or others.