Remote working leads to more insider data threats

Four of the top six types of cyber security incidents affecting companies are now related to insider actions, according to research from data security firm Netwrix.

The company's Cyber Threats Report is based on feedback from 940 IT professionals worldwide about the cyber threats they have recently faced.

Since organisations moved to remote working in response to the pandemic, data security incidents faced by companies include accidental mistakes by admins (seen by 27 per cent of respondents), accidental improper sharing of data by employees (26 per cent), misconfiguration of cloud services (16 per cent) and data theft by employees (14 per cent).

Therefore, it is not surprising that 79 per cent of IT professionals worry that users are now more likely to ignore IT policies and thus pose a greater threat to security.

Moreover, incidents related to inside actors were among the hardest for organisations to detect. For example, a significant portion of respondents needed weeks or months to detect data theft by employees (26 per cent), improper employee data sharing (18 per cent) and admin mistakes (12 per cent).

The research found that 70 per cent of financial organisations were concerned about insider data theft during the current remote working phase. Pre-pandemic, only 30 per cent were focused on this risk.

Also, 41 per cent of educational institutions reported improper sharing of sensitive records by employees, which is the highest result among all verticals analysed.

Ilia Sotnikov, vice president of product management at Netwrix, said: “In this age of remote work the insider threat can’t go unaddressed. Now is the time to revisit the founding principles of security, including tracking user activity, automating change and configuration auditing and enabling alerts on harmful actions.”

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