Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cybercriminals, Insiders May Work Together To Attack Businesses

Via DarkReading.com -

For 19 months, an employee at Johns Hopkins Hospital allegedly stole patients' identities, feeding the information to a four outsiders who used the data to charge up more than $600,000 in goods on store credit. Jasmine Amber Smith, 25, has been charged with using her inside access to fuel the identity theft ring.

Employees working with cybercriminals may be not be the norm for security breaches, but it's not a rare crime, either, experts say. It's not unusual for cybercriminals to gain inside access through bribery and solicitation, two components of social engineering, according to Verizon Business' Data Breach Investigations Report. Social engineering accounted for 28 percent of breaches analyzed in the report, with solicitation and bribery leading to nearly a third of those breaches.

"These were scenarios in which someone outside the organization conspired with an insider to engage in illegal behavior," the report says. "They recruit, or even place, insiders in a position to embezzle or skim monetary assets and data, usually in return for some cut of the score."


Because partnerships between cybercriminals and insiders are still uncommon, companies should focus their defenses on mainstream practices and tools for monitoring employee behavior, says Phil Neray, vice president of security strategy for Guardium, an IBM company.

An employee could stay within their authorized limits and still steal from the company, Neray observes.

"The only way to handle that is to rely on other forms of security than just identity and access management," Neray says. "The bad guys may have someone on the inside -- or a copy of the log-in credentials for your most sensitive systems -- so you have to start using anomaly detection, not just at the network level, but at the user-activity level."

Most of the cases of insider cooperation analyzed by Verizon Business -- which included data from the U.S. Secret Service -- involved embezzlement from banks, retailers, or the hospitality industry. Companies in those industries should have policies and technology in place to catch insiders focused on cash.

The report from Forrester found that aerospace, defense, electronics and consulting companies had far more to lose from the theft of corporate secrets. A rogue employee stealing corporate information is generally the most expensive breach, according to that report.

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