7 Steps to Identifying & Mitigating Risky Users

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What is an INSIDER?
User Activity Visibility


By Boaz Fischer 11 Apr, 2016

People working within an organisation can pose a substantial threat due to their knowledge of and access to their organisation systems and information. They can easily bypass physical and electronic security measures through their legitimate means of every day work.

Now consider your technical IT administrator.

They have typically all the privileges to access any asset within your business.


Potentially, they also have the ability to hold your business to ransom .


They can:  

  •           disable your network
  •           delete sensitive and valuable information
  •           steal information
  •           snoop into other user’s sensitive information without your notice
  •           disrupt its operations .


They can destroy your business should they want.


Consider the following scenario (based on a true story)


A network administrator designed and created the network for a major US city, was the only person who fully understood how the network ran, and also had ALL the administrative passwords for all the critical assets.


After being reprimanded for poor performance and for threatening co- workers, he was reassigned to a different role. However, he refused to provide the passwords to his replacement and was subsequently terminated and then arrested.


The city was unable to access those critical network assets for a full 12 days. Fortunately, during that time, the infrastructure continued operating normally.


It was also discovered the administrator had installed rogue access points enabling him to log-in remotely. In addition, he had programmed the network devices to fail if anyone attempted to reset them without the administrative passwords.



Do you have an IT manager or even and administrator who is potentially holding your business hostage?

These crimes are committed by technically sophisticated system administrators. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence.


There are many behavioural “precursors” an individual can sometimes exhibit prior to performing his malicious activities. Often, disgruntlement commences with the onset of concerning behaviours in the workplace.


Some examples include:

  •          Conflict with co-workers
  •          A sudden pattern of missing work / arriving late / leaving early
  •          A sudden decline in job performance
  •          Aggressive or violent behaviour
  •          Sexual harassment
  •          Poor hygiene


Behavioural changes are sometimes the result of unmet expectations, such as:

  •          Did not receive a salary increase or bonus
  •          Did not receive a promotion
  •          Change in their access to information
  •          Job dissatisfaction
  •          Supervisor demands
  •          Change in responsibilities
  •          Change in co-workers relations
  •          Work ethic
  •          Personal financial changes



The Hidden problem(s)


Hidden problems, unknown and undetected by the organisation present a set of serious and sometimes devastating risks, potentially compromising an organisation entirely.


1.  Many of the insider offenders (IT administrators) were clearly heading down the path to termination through the escalation of a series of concerning behaviours and associated sanctions.
When these offenders leave, organisations mistakenly assume the problem had disappeared with their termination.
Unfortunately, the problems persist because the organisations had no visibility the offenders had setup remote backdoor accounts, installed rogue software on the network, downloaded malicious code/tools and had installed remote network administrator tools.

2.  Organisations often try and sanction users for their disruptive behaviour and poor performance by demotion, changing their roles, removing their responsibilities.
This only exacerbates the negative behaviour and makes the situation worse.

3.  Excessive trust provided to employees, combined with inconsistent enforcement of organisation policies, allowed IT administrators to subject the organisation to “ransom” like behaviour.

4.  Lack of insight by CEO’s to fully comprehend the problem until it is too late and thereby placed their organisation at serious risk


Insiders who sabotage their organisation often leads to serious business loss and sometimes complete shutdown.


Consider an organisation the size of 100 people. Imagine if this business was shut down for five (5) business working days. The loss of business revenue is calculated as follows:
By Boaz Fischer 01 Feb, 2016

The Edward Snowden 2013 National Security Agency Data Breach was arguably the most damaging breach to ever impact the U.S. Intelligence Community.


The Damage

It is presumed that Edward Snowden copied 1.7 million intelligence files. According to the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, the theft of these documents could "gravely impact" U.S. national security and put "defense personnel in harm's way and jeopardise the success of current operations,".


Based on the number of files that have been released, it exposes U.S. tactics and harms relations with allies. The bulk of the documents pertain to Pentagon operations against terrorists, cyber criminals, drugs and weapons smugglers and American adversaries.

By Boaz Fischer 18 Jan, 2016

“Maybe money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you an advantage”

-        Boaz Fischer    - 

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