Insider threats make up 74% of business cyber security incidents


Insider threats are a bigger risk to cyber security than external hackers, with 74% of cyber incidents happening from within companies.

That's according to survey data conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of data security company Clearswift, which took responsed from 600 senior business decision makers and 1,200 employees from around the world, with a particular focus on on businesses in the UK, US, Germany, and Australia,

When asked about the cyber security threats encountered by the companies, nearly three-quarters found that threat incidents are increasingly coming from within a company rather than from hackers trying to breach their firewalls and defences.

In fact, the study found that 42% of threats, whether they were inadvertent or malicious, come from employees alone.

When considering the extended enterprise, meaning employees, customers, suppliers, or even previous employees, the number increases to 74%. Although most companies, 65%, believe that these inside incidents are accidental, that data still suggests a serious need for more extensive security education within businesses.

While the threats from internal sources have increased from the 39% in 2015, the number of attacks from outside parties has decreased from 33% in 2015 to a current 26%.

Despite this fall in outside attacks, 29% of businesses within the UK are now implementing cyber security into their boardroom agendas, perhaps due to the recent attacks on companies from hackers as seen with the widespread WananCry ransomware attacks.

Unsuprisingly, Dr. Guy Bunker, SVP of products at Clearswift, suggests educating employees and investing in data loss prevention in order to shrink the internal security risks.

"Businesses may fall victim to the frenzy around high profile attacks and organisations may be quick to look at threats outside the business but, in reality, the danger exists closer to home. The blurring lines between personal and work-based technologies has led to an unabated rise in the insider threat," he said.

Although 40% of organizations claim the frequency of security incidents have increased over the last year, albeit at a slower rate than previously recorded, companies are spotting these incidents more quickly, with more than half of organizations detecting an issue within an hour.