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Insider attack

(also Insider threat)

Insider attack definition

An insider attack is a malicious act conducted by someone within an organization, such as an employee or contractor. These attacks can involve the theft of confidential information, sabotage of systems, or data manipulation.

See also: Threat actor, intrusion detection system

Risks of an insider attack

  • Financial loss. An insider attack can lead to significant financial losses for a company by stealing assets or intellectual property.
  • Reputational damage. Such attacks often result in severe reputational damage, eroding customer trust and potentially leading to loss of business.
  • Legal and compliance issues. Insider attacks can end with legal violations, especially in data-sensitive industries. Companies may face penalties, fines, and increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies.

Examples of an insider attack

  • Data theft by employees. An employee illicitly copies sensitive company data onto a personal device, intending to sell it to competitors.
  • Fraudulent activities. An insider manipulates financial records for personal gain, committing fraud.
  • Installation of malware. A staff member, knowingly or unknowingly, installs malware in the company's network. This compromises the entire network's security.