Insiders No Longer The Biggest Threat To Computer Networks

from the but-why? dept

For years, we’ve been told that the biggest threat to various companies’ computer networks doesn’t come from outside hackers, but from internal (often disgruntled) employees. However, a new study disputes that, saying that less than one in five security breaches were due to insiders. Business partners are nearly twice as likely to be the cause of an attack, and then outside hack attacks are the largest threat. Of course, what isn’t explained is whether or not the earlier data was just wrong — or if something has changed over the last few years (more outside hacking, better controls on employees, etc.). That would probably be a lot more interesting and useful than just knowing the percentages.

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Comments on “Insiders No Longer The Biggest Threat To Computer Networks”

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SomeGuy says:

I didn’t read the article, but “biggest threat” isn’t just a question of numbers, but also of impact. Insiders, who are expressly given access to the network and certain sets of data, have the potential to do a lot more damage than most outside attackers. I’d be skeptical of any study that makes the claim that because most attacks come from the outside that means it’s the biggest threat.

Anonymous Coward says:

I disagree with this study. Wanna know how much time and resources we spend cleaning up from an outside attack? None, thats how much. Never found one that got past security. Doesn’t mean we don’t spend time implementing and monitoring security though, better safe than sorry. Now, wanna know how much time we spend cleaning up employee stupidity that adversely effects the network? A crapload, thats what. From the idiot that opens up an attachment in outlook that infects his computer with a spammy virus, the person who always hits “accept” in IE when we tell them to accept nothing, the moron who sets up an FTP server on his work computer to send files to his own computer(when there is already a secure way of doing it), and god knows what else. We spend more time and energy cleaning up on “internal” issues, than anything else. Sure, those first two could be considered an “outside attack”, but if the person at the keyboard didn’t have a problem with malfunctioning neurons.. there would never be a problem in the first place.

SomeGuy says:

Re: Re:

Those are all “outside” threats, because none of them originate from the inside — unless the ‘threat’ you see from the FTP is that he’s leaking data onto the web, but I doubt that. An inside attack is when an authorized user attacks your network. That’s not the case in any of your scenarios, you’re just complaining that users are still not internet-savvy.

Mitch says:

Sounds like your security is not up to par Anonymous Coward. Would someone setting up an FTP server not set off any red flags on your network? Are your attachements not screened by anti-virus or an external spam filter? You can’t just tell people not to do something, as an admin its your job (and mine) to lock it down. Sounds like the biggest threat to your network is the laziness of its administrators. Malfunctioning neurons? After you develop some network admin skills you should work on your people skill as well.

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