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2007's Biggest Problem - The Trusted Insider

By Dan Morrill

This has not been a banner year for insider hacks, and insider data loss across the board. In many ways we can most likely call this the year of the insider.

Either through actual hacking, or through actual not compliance with company policy and taking work home, or loosing disks with millions of consumer records, the trusted insider is 2007's biggest problem.

Adding to that is a recent insider hack from Florida, where a senior database administrator stole then sold through a 3rd party, consumer information that should have been better secured, or at least, someone should have been watching.

Working for a subsidiary called Certegy Check Services, Sullivan used his access to Fidelity's database to pilfer records that included individuals' names, addresses and financial account information, according to court documents. To cover his tracks, he incorporated a business called S&S Computer Services, which sold the data to an un-indicted accomplice. According to authorities, this unidentified person resold the information to direct marketers, including one called Strategia Marketing, which also went by the name Suntasia. Source: Channel Register

While the TJX settlement was not that much in terms of money out to consumers, the loss of data, and the selling of data is not just for hackers anymore. The underground economy in data, should include insiders as a source, either by purpose, or because they got spear phished as they did at Los Alamos this week.

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Security Risk Management needs to take a lot of this into consideration, and controls must be in place to make sure that these kinds of events do not happen with the same kind of frequency that they have happened this year.

One thing that security risk managers can do is familiarize them with the insider threat research conducted by CERT. This is one of the best repositories for data about insider threats, that will help a company scenario plan, and come up with contingencies as well as monitoring strategies.

Another good source of Links is Practical and well worth visiting.

In the mean time, while we wind down for the holidays, it might be time to revisit your security practices, and work on mitigations for insider threats. There have been far too many this year.


About the Author:
Dan Morrill has been in the information security field for 18 years, both civilian and military, and is currently working on his Doctor of Management. Dan shares his insights on the important security issues of today through his blog, Managing Intellectual Property & IT Security, and is an active participant in the ITtoolbox blogging community.

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