May 17, 2018 By David Bisson 2 min read

The majority of risk assessments examined in a recent insider threat report spotted users who tried to bypass their employer’s security measures using private or anonymous browsing.

Researchers analyzed user threat assessments performed on customers and prospective clients across the globe and found that 60 percent identified such behavior. These analyses provided insight into the types of user actions that put enterprise data at the greatest risk.

Risk Assessments Identify Insider Threats

The report identified malicious users as a “traditional” type of insider threat. After analyzing multiple types of activity, the researchers singled out attempts to bypass company security as the most reliable way to confirm that a user action is malicious.

Other indicators of bad intent included employees’ use of “high-risk applications,” such as PowerShell and uTorrent, and the use of the web for inappropriate purposes, such as gaming and gambling. These factors came in at 72 percent and 67 percent of risk assessments, respectively, according to Dtex Systems’ “2018 Insider Threat Intelligence Report.”

Even so, the security firm noted that negligent insiders tend to be far more common than malicious ones. The authors explained that this type of negligence-based incident can take the form of users downloading risky applications or pirated media due to lack of security awareness. The report also found that companies themselves can create insider threats by leaving data publicly exposed in the cloud (78 percent of risk assessments) or transferring data to unencrypted USB devices (90 percent of risk assessments).

Spotting Risky Behavior

Dtex CEO Christy Wyatt offered some advice to help organizations protect themselves against insider threats.

“Organizations have to secure data, neutralize risky behaviors, and protect trusted employees against attacks and their own errors,” she said. “To accomplish all of this, they have to see how their people are behaving and have a mechanism that provides alerts when things are go wrong.”

Consistent with Wyatt’s advice, the authors of the report advised organizations to create a defense-in-depth strategy that emphasizes visibility into suspicious actions, such as when employees take their devices off the corporate network.

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