Can Behavior Signal an Insider Threat?


An insider attack may cause catastrophic consequences for a business or family office. Privileged information may be sabotaged or personal data can be leaked to outside sources. To counteract this, it is crucial to recognize insider threats as they begin to form.

All employees change over time. Sometimes their behavior offers clues about things that can negatively affect their employer. Because behavior is the best tell-tale warning that an employee may be a risk, it is up to the people who spend time with them—managers and fellow employees—to speak up. There may be assistance programs that can help.

Many companies perform ongoing background investigations as a best practice to mitigate the threat from within. Security awareness training can empower a workforce to understand changes in personality traits or values that may indicate an insider threat. Increased ethical flexibility, a decrease in loyalty, or unwarranted entitlement may signal that something is off. A shift in attitude and work ethic should likewise cause concern. A rogue employee may minimize his or her mistakes and fail to assume responsibility, work odd hours without permission or act unusually guarded or secretive. There are a number of behavioral patterns that may hint at something suspect.

Indeed, these attributes may not be reason for concern; individuals may exhibit slight changes in personality due to reasons independent of impending sabotage. It is up to the organization to be aware of the insider threat, have mitigating strategies and have a plan of action in place should there be a breach.

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