6 Tips for mitigating insider threats

6 Tips for mitigating insider threats

Cybersecurity had been about just two things: granting authorized parties access to IT resources, and keeping unauthorized parties away from such resources. Now, cybersecurity experts acknowledge that authorized users themselves may be a threat to data security.

When you grant third-party partners access your network, they might use devices that are infected with malware. Authorized personnel might go to malware-riddled websites, download unsecure apps, or fall for phishing scams.

Bad actors may steal access credentials from a C-suite officer and take over that officer’s account without anyone knowing. Additionally, it’s also possible for a trusted employee to become a bad actor themselves.

In other words, cybersecurity must also be about mitigating insider threats. Here are tips to help your organization do that.

1. Enroll portables in a mobile device management program

Laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other portable devices must be screened for malware before they can be used to access your network. These machines must also be monitored so that suspicious behaviors like massive data exfiltration can be flagged and stopped as soon as possible.

2. Stop staff members from downloading bad apps and plugins by putting an IT vetting program in place

Employees with initiative and drive may try to install apps and plugins they think will increase their productivity and solve problems. However, they may not be aware that they may be doing more harm than good because the programs they installed might be portals for malware to get into your network.

To prevent this from happening while not curbing the proactive nature of such staff, put a vetting process in place so that your IT team can review proposed IT solutions for safety. Over time, you may produce a white list and black list for the entire organization to abide by.

3. Keep everyone in your organization from engaging in risky and wrong behaviors by educating and training them

There may be people from entry-level positions right up to the C-suite who may be unaware of what phishing emails look like. Some may use unsecure networks like the public Wi-Fi offered in airports to get a bit of work in. Perhaps many would not know what to do once they see a ransomware attack unfold. They might try to troubleshoot the problem themselves and allow the bad software to spread before finally notifying IT.

To keep authorized insiders from committing cybersecurity mistakes, train them on proper courses of action when facing cyberthreats. For example, instruct them to type the URLs of their intended website destinations instead of clicking on links provided in emails. Show them protocols for reporting cybersecurity incidents and conduct data breach simulations so they can practice what they've learned.

Education is one of the most effective tools for mitigating insider threats because it transforms insiders from being liabilities into cybersecurity assets.

4. Prevent account takeovers by implementing multifactor authentication (MFA)

Username and password combinations are no longer sufficient for verifying users’ identities because these may be stolen via phishing campaigns or data breaches. If a bad actor tries to access a corporate account by using stolen credentials, MFA stops them in their tracks by requiring them to submit further proof of identity, such as a fingerprint scan.

5. Deauthorize accounts of ex-employees and ex-business partners

When people are no longer allowed to access your network, make sure that their credentials are invalidated and their corporate accounts are purged. This is to prevent these from becoming back doors that may be abused later on.

6. Detect abnormal user and device behavior with User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)

UEBA is another effective tool for mitigating insider threats. It works by first establishing normal or baseline behaviors that indicate uncompromised IT systems.

Once armed with these baselines, real-time monitoring can detect anomalous actions of users or devices as early as possible so that corrective measures can be taken immediately. These measures may be automated for maximum efficiency. For example, uncharacteristically large downloads of sensitive company information may be stopped early and put up for investigation.

Unfortunately, UEBA may be costly to implement since it must process vast amounts of information. To learn which cybersecurity solutions would be cost-effective for your organization, talk to our IT experts at Founders Technology Group today.