Insider security threats growing but budget to stop them is not: survey

The risk of insider security threats is increasingly recognised to be growing but the budgets to stop them are not, a new survey of IT security professionals has revealed.

Fully 62 percent of respondents to the Vectra Networks Insider Threat Spotlight Report said that insider threats have become a more frequent problem over the last 12 months, with an equal proportion agreeing that such attacks are far more difficult to detect and prevent than external attacks.

The biggest threat, named by 59 percent of respondents, came from privileged users who have legitimate access to information but poor control over their account details.

Despite the looming threat of such attacks, less than 50 percent of respondents to the Vectra survey, which was conducted on behalf of the company and LinkedIn's Information Security Community by Crowd Research Partners, believe their organisation has appropriate controls in place to prevent them.

Yet even as the insider threat continues to grow, security executives reported that they were struggling to get additional budget to deal with the problem: just 34 percent said they expected additional budget to address insider attacks.

This, despite 38 percent of respondents estimating that fixing an insider attack can cost up to $US500,000 ($A650,000) and the rest confessing that they have no idea how much a successful attack might cost.

“Asking security professionals to do more with less puts organizations at risk,” says Holger Schulze, founder of the LinkedIn Information Security Community said in a statement. “Insider threats cause long-lasting economic and reputation damage to an organisation.”

“Insiders often already have access to systems and sensitive information, making it vital for organisations to deploy security solutions that monitor internal traffic in addition to Internet-bound traffic where signs of insider attacks and external cyber attacks can be detected in real time.”

These findings reinforce ongoing evidence that privileged-account access is a significant, human-generated threat which, despite years of warning from security experts, is only slowly being addressed by the likes of Telstra and Vodafone and is likely to grow worse as cloud-computing adoption grows and third parties – named as a significant insider threat by 48 percent of the survey respondents – are increasingly given access to all manner of core systems.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Tags IT SecuritysurveyCSO AustraliaCloud-computingHolger SchulzeLinkedIn's Information Security CommunityVectra Networks

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