What Are Some Potential Insider Threat Indicators?

Insider threats are dangerous for an organization where data and documents are compromised intentionally or unintentionally and can take place the organization at risk. Insider Threats indicators help to find out who may become insider threats in order to compromise data of an organization. In this post, we’ll define “what is an insider threat” and also mention “what are some potential insider threat indicators?”

What is an Insider Threat?

There are different ways that data can be breached; insider threats are one of them. So, it is required to identify who are the insider threats to your organization and what are some potential insider threat indicators?

An insider threat is an employee of an organization who has been authorized to access resources and systems. The employee can be a database administrator (DBA), system engineers, Security Officer (SO), vendors, suppliers, or an IT director who has access to the sensitive data and is authorized to manage the data.

Insider threat is a type of data breach where data is compromised intentionally or accidentally by employees of an organization. Authorized employees are the security risk of an organization because they know how to access the system and resources.

Insider threats or malicious insiders can perform unlawful actions on your system such as steal information, insert malicious scripts in order to hack, or give remote access to an unauthorized user. The careless employees are also insider threats because they are not conscious of cyber security threats such as phishing, malware, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, ransomware, and cross site scripting.

what is an insider threat?

Common Types of Insider Threats

Insider threats can steal or compromise the sensitive data of an organization. It is noted that, most of the data is compromised or breached unintentionally by insider users. These types of insider users are not aware of data security or are not proficient in ensuring cyber security.

There are number of dangerous insider threats such as malicious insiders, inside agents, departing employees, third party service providers, and regular (limited access of the system) users of an organization.

Typically, you need to give access permission to your networks and systems to third parties’ vendors or suppliers in order to check your system security. So, they can steal or inject malicious scripts into your applications to hack your sensitive data.

What Are Some Potential Insider Threat Indicators?

What are some potential insider threat indicators? There are some potential insider threat indicators which can be used to identify insider threats to your organization. The main targets of insider threats are databases, web servers, applications software, networks, storage, and end user devices.

what are some potential insider threat indicators

The most common potential insider threat indicators are as follows:

1. Unusual Access Requests of System

Insider threats or malicious insiders will try to make unusual requests to access into the system than the normal request to access into the system. This type of potential insider threat indicator is trying to access and hack sensitive information such as financial data, classified information, security information, contact information and other documents.

2. Sending Emails to Unauthorized Addresses

Sending emails to unauthorized addresses is a type of potential insider threat indicator who are sending emails to unauthorized addresses or outside email addresses of the organization. Unauthorized or outside email addresses are unknown to the authority of your organization.

Insider threats are sending or transferring sensitive data through email to unauthorized addresses without your acknowledgement. The email may contain sensitive information, financial data, classified information, security information, and file attachments.

3. Accessing the Systems after Working Hours

What type of activity or behavior should be reported as a potential insider threat? This is another type of insider threat indicator which should be reported as a potential insider threat. These types of malicious insider’s attempt to hack the system in order to gain critical data after working hours or off hours.

4. Behavior Changes with Colleagues

Employees who are insider attackers may change behavior with their colleagues. Their attitude or behavior is seeming to be abnormal, such as suddenly short-tempered, joyous, friendly and even not attentive at work.

5. Excessive Amount of Data Downloading

This may be another potential insider threat indicator where you can see excessive amounts of data downloading and copying onto computers or external devices. If you have a network team, they can identify which employee is consuming more bandwidth and downloading significant amounts of data within the office network.

Typically, the inside attacker will try to download the data or it may happen after working hours or unusual times of the office day. By the by, the sales or HR team of an office need to download huge number of data files so, they are not an insider threat but you may keep an eye on them.

6. Accessing the System and Resources

The insider attacker may take leave (such as medical leave and recreation leave) in order to save themselves so, they can gain access and hack the sensitive information. They will try to access the network and system using an outside network or VPN so, the authorities can’t easily identify the attackers.

It is also noted that, some potential insider’s attackers’ direct access into your system to transfer the hack documents instead of using sending via email or other system. Typically, they may use different types of unofficial storage devices such as USB drives or CD/DVD.

7. Remote Login into the System

Remote login into the system is another potential insider threat indicator where malicious insider’s login into the system remotely after office working hours and from different locations. Even the insider attacker staying and working in the office on holidays or during off-hours. So, these could be indicators of an insider threat.


Finally, we can conclude that, these types of insider threat indicators state that your organization is at risk. We’ve discussed some potential insider threat indicators which may help you to identify the insider attacker of your organization. Hope the article on what are some potential insider threat indicators will be helpful for you.

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