Attackers: Internal and External

Attackers: Internal and External

Eduardo Gelbstein (Webster University, Switzerland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4707-7.ch028
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Of the three groups of components of information security – tools, processes, and people- the last one should be considered as the weakest link. People range from the tired or unaware employee that clicks on a link that infects a computer or a network, to the security expert working for a criminal, military, or terrorist organization attacking a critical information infrastructure. This chapter examines the various classes of potential attackers and the techniques currently used to perpetrate such attacks.
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The Internal Threat

Hiding in plain view:

Place a tree in a forest – it becomes invisible.

Place a rock in a quarry – it becomes invisible.

A dishonest person within an organisation…becomes invisible.

The insider threat has been well understood and recorded in history and literature. Two recent reports focus on the insider threat from the perspective of information systems and technology (Moore, Randazzo, Keeney, & Capelli, 2005, Doyle & Weiler, 2007).,

The first of these reports states that

  • 62% of incidents were planned in advance

  • 80% of the insiders involved showed unusual behaviour

  • 60% had created backdoors or used shared accounts

  • 50% had proper authorised access at the time of the incident

  • 81% of the incidents resulted in significant financial losses

  • 75% had high impact on business operations

  • 28% damaged the reputation of the organisation

Should managers, worry about this? Absolutely!

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