4 of the top 6 types of cybersecurity incidents are now related to insider actions, Netwrix research finds

It was also revealed that 79% of CIOs are concerned that users might ignore IT policies and guidelines, increasing security risk.

Netwrix, a cybersecurity vendor that makes data security easy, today announced additional findings from its 2020 Cyber Threats Report, which summarizes feedback from 937 IT professionals worldwide about the cyber threats they have recently faced and how quickly they were able to respond. Netwrix conducted this online survey in June 2020 to understand how the pandemic and ensuing work-from-home (WFH) initiatives changed the IT risk landscape.

The report reveals that cybersecurity risks related to insiders are now more common than those from external threat actors. In fact, since organizations went remote, four of the top six types of cybersecurity incidents they experienced were caused by internal users: accidental mistakes by admins (suffered by 27% of respondents), accidental improper sharing of data by employees (26%), misconfiguration of cloud services (16%) and data theft by employees (14%). Therefore, it is not surprising that 79% of CIOs worry that users are now more likely to ignore IT policies and thus pose a greater threat to security.

Moreover, incidents related to inside actors were among the hardest for organizations to detect. For example, a significant portion of respondents needed weeks or months to detect data theft by employees (26%), improper employee data sharing (18%) and admin mistakes (12%).

Other survey findings include:

  • Incidents caused by admin mistakes were more common for large enterprises (1,001+ employees) than for mid-sized and small organizations. 33% of large enterprises reported suffering at least one incident caused by a negligent admin since WFH began.
  • 70% of financial organizations are concerned about insider data theft during the current remote work phase. Pre-pandemic, only 30% were focused on this risk.
  • 41% of educational institutions reported improper sharing of sensitive records by employees, which is the highest result among all verticals analyzed.

In this age of remote work, the insider threat can’t go unaddressed. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of paying attention to how employees handle sensitive data and follow security policies. Now is the time to revisit the founding principles of security — including tracking user activity, automating change and configuration auditing, and enabling alerts on harmful actions — to ensure that insider misbehavior is detected and addressed in a timely manner.
Ilia Sotnikov, VP of Product Management at Netwrix

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