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What are the Factors Motivating Insider Threats in Financial Services?

Factors Motivating Insider Threats in Financial Services

Organizations within the financial services industry need to take steps to ensure their sensitive data is protected from insider threats.

In the financial services sector, corporations commonly entrust their employees with the handling of sensitive information, such as client financial records, credit reports, and much more. This means that there is a significant risk that this access will be misused by potential insider threats – and that financial services organizations need to have an insider risk management strategy that is well thought-out and a team that is appropriately staffed. The effects of an insider incident are more publicized – and more damaging – now than ever before. By understanding what motivates insider threats in the financial services sector – both intentional and unintentional – your team can learn to recognize patterns of behavior before they turn into something more serious.

Motivating Factors for Malicious Insiders

Malicious insider threats are those which are planned out in advance and conduct their data exfiltration intentionally. These are the rarer of the two types of insider attacks, but they should still be accounted for within your insider risk management plan. Some common motivating factors from this group that we’ve seen include:

  • Emotional – many malicious insiders end up acting out because of some situation at their workplace. They feel depressed, disrespected, frustrated, angry, or more – and they choose to take it out on their organization.
  • Financial – money is a major motivating factor for a lot of people, especially for those who are suffering financial hardship. So, if one of your employees is looking to improve their position, either through a direct cash payout from a third party or indirectly by bringing sensitive information with them to a new position at a new company, they may choose to exploit their current position.
  • Political – state-sponsored insider threats are rare compared to other forms of attacks, but they can still happen. And this risk is greater the more global reach your organization has.

Motivating Factors for Unintentional Insiders

Unintentional insiders aren’t trying to steal or compromise your information, but the combination of a lack of knowledge with a desire to work efficiently can lead to a situation where your employee may unintentionally put your financial services organization at risk. And seeing as how accidental insider incidents are by far the most common type affecting organizations in every industry, taking the time to address these factors can pay off significantly for your organization.

  • Lack of Understanding – this tends to affect employees who aren’t as tech-literate or haven’t needed to consider the effects their actions have on the security of their company before. Consider your security policy and whether it is too technical for the average employee to understand and determine how to better communicate these policies to these employees.
  • Efficiency/Convenience – these two go hand-in-hand as they are big buzz words within the financial services sector, especially on the consumer side. Convenience trumps nearly everything and is equated with being more efficient. But it can also lead to a situation where your employees take security shortcuts around your internal systems.
  • Misplacing Mobile Devices – as remote work becomes more of the norm, the importance of mobile devices will continue to grow. Unfortunately, an absent-minded moment from one of your employees might lead to an important device being left behind at the coffee shop, for example.

Remember – your security is only as strong as your weakest link!

Contact ITMG to Assess Your Current Capabilities and Develop Strategies and Protocols Designed to Help Your Company Mitigate Your Insider Risk

ITMG is an industry leader in helping organizations throughout the United States strengthen their insider risk management programs and secure sensitive data and intellectual property. Our team of bona fide experts has the real-world experience necessary to plan out and create holistic security solutions tailored to the special needs and risks in your industry. Contact ITMG today to learn more about how we can help! You can also visit our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages for more updates and insights into the world of insider risk management.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 26th, 2021 at 9:33 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.