Types Of Insider Threats In Cyber Security and How to Guard Against Them

Did you know? Over 34% of businesses worldwide experience insider threats every year. Over the past two years, there has been a 47% increase in insider incidents. These days,  data protection has become a major need of everyone be it individuals or any organization. However, for an organization, insider threats can put them at dynamic and complex risks.

According to the latest 2023 Insiders Threat Report, 74 percent of organizations are moderately to extremely vulnerable to an insider attack.

Not everyone is familiar with insider threats in cyber security, knowing how they can harm your organization and what kind of safety measures you should follow. Here we will discuss about who is an insider, what is an insider threat, what are its types in cyber security, and much more.

Who is the Insider? 

An Insider is an entity in any organization that has legal access to any confidential information or resources of any organization. This information could be about resources, inside details and strategies of the company, products and services, the company’s strengths and weaknesses, etc. 

The insider can use this information to harm any organization directly or to facilitate anyone against them. However, it could be done intentionally or unintentionally.

What is an Insider Threat?

According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an insider threat is a threat that can be faced by any person who has legal authority or access to the confidential information of any organization. However, the end goal could be to damage or harm the company’s resources, network, system, and the misuse of their information. Whereas, it would be an intentional or unintentional step. 

The insider threat damages can be in different forms. Such as:

  • Spying and hacking
  • Terrorism
  • Information publication without authorization
  • Corruption, especially taking part in international crime
  • Sabotage
  • Creating Violence in Workplace

How do Insider threats impact productivity?

Insider threats are directly related to cyber security threats. The negative employee behavior poses a threat to operational effectiveness and productivity. They contaminate the workplace environment. Additionally, it can put the organization’s secret strategies and reputation at risk. 

What are the Types of Insider Threats?

The insider threat can be categorized into three types that will help you to understand it. These types are the following:

  1. Intentional Insider Threat
  2. Unintentional Insider Threat
  3. Other 

Intentional Insider Threat

An intentional threat means any authorized entity who tries to harm the integrity, system, or network of an organization by his actions. However, this kind of threat comes out due to personal outrage or due to greed to get a few personal benefits. These types of threats are also called turncloaks which intentionally abuse a company’s credentials to get a few personal incentives.

They can harm any organization by leaking their confidential and intellectual property, creating violence in the workplace, and harassing organizations with their proper intentions. However, they can do this for getting promotions, bounces, or for some other personal desires.

Unintentional Insider Threat

 Unintentional threats that happen unintentionally by any authorized entity of any organization. However, it further can be categorized into two variations. It means this threat can occur due to any negligence or accident.


This kind of insiders foolishly exposes an organization to a risk. However, these insiders are frequently aware of security and/or IT policies. But they decide not to follow them or ignore them. Whereas, their negligence put the organization in danger. A few instances include letting someone “piggyback” through a secure entryway.

Also, losing or misplacing a device with removable storage that contained sensitive data about the organization. As well as disobeying instructions to apply security fixes and new improvements to enhance the security.


This kind of insider mistakenly puts an organization at risk. These accidental threats can expose the organization to any major problem. However, few examples are there that show the accidental risk.

For example mistakenly sending a company’s confidential information to the wrong person, or accidentally clicking on any hyperlink that can cause hacking of personal devices that contain intellectual data of any organization, and it can be done by any competitor. As well as opening spammy emails that can contain attachments that are full of viruses.


This includes collaboration threats or any third-party threats. Actually, collaborative threats may occur due to the collaboration of any authorized person with some cyber criminal to achieve his goal of harming the organization. However, that authorized person can commit any fraud or steal any confidential information with the help of cybercriminals.

On the other side, third-party threat comes from those kind of persons who are not actually part of that organization or employee but have some limited access. It can be any service provider. Thus, to provide their services, they may have access to systems, and networks. But with this access, they can harm the organization by misusing the access.

What are the Common Signs of Insider Threat?

An essential step in protecting your organization from a serious risk is the identification and detection of potential insider threats refers to both technology and human factors. However, in order to identify and stop internal threats, organizations must have a complete strategy in place. Here are a few typical indications of insider threats. Some of these tell-tale signs are the following:

  1. Unwanted conduct revealed by angry staff members
  2. suspicious user behavior or activity within an account
  3. Unexpected or random increases in network traffic
  4. Unusual and unexpected increase in data downloads
  5. Unauthorized attempts to access devices or documents
  6. suspicious emails or text messages received by outside recipients

How to Identify and Prevent Insider Threat?

Companies should do a proper analysis of their network, systems, and data periodically. They can use threat intelligence tools to detect threats. As well as make sure to develop a reliable system that can identify and manage the issues properly.

The team should evaluate the issues on time and make sure to upgrade new security tools and systems. It will help to minimize the security threats. As well as companies can hire a professional team to detect threats. Threat detection and identification is used to identify individuals who may pose an insider threat risk to an organization.

Final Verdict

In short, an insider threat is a threat that can put an organization at risk due to any authorized person. However, this can be done by any legal entity intentionally or unintentionally. There are different types of insider threats.

They can harm the organization by leaking their intellectual property data, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere at workplaces, or harming systems and networks. Organizations can protect themselves by properly analyzing their system and developing the right strategy.

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