Who’s stealing your data?

Here is a fact that many of us would like to forget.  Most data theft occurs by insiders.  This is often termed the insider threat or the human threat.  Insiders are the people who would usually be considered very trustworthy.  However, all it takes is some incident or life change to occur that can motivate someone to commit a crime.

An evaluation of cases of insider theft has provided statistics useful in identifying the types of employees who are most likely to threaten information security.  Surprisingly, it’s not the underpaid computer guru working in the server room.  According to data from the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, information theft is more likely to occur with those who serve in a managerial capacity in a non-technical role.  These individuals are usually between the ages of 26 and 40 and they are more likely to steal business data than Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Equally important is that very few data thefts were discovered by the use of technology.  Rather, security awareness and incident response played a greater role in the detection of these crimes. Unfortunately, these competencies are neglected in many businesses.  The majority of cases were detected by employees who reported suspicious or unusual activity, customers who complained or by auditors.

Ensure that your incident response plans include response to the insider threat.  This includes computer forensic imaging and proper evidence handling procedures since these cases often result in litigation.  Train employees on how to recognize suspicious activity and whom to contact when they observe it.  Lastly, set up methods for anonymous reporting and whistleblowing.

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7 thoughts on “Who’s stealing your data?

    • Look for someone who suddenly becomes very controlling about part of their job or the opposite, very uncaring about it. Also, if someone suddenly begins dressing in more expensive clothes or brags about expensive toys/gadgets they bought, that can be an indicator too.

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