The enemy within

September 13, 2018

Any talk of security usually defaults to external threats. But what about threats from inside of your firewall? How often do you consider those?

Of course, no one likes to think of their employees as untrustworthy, but the reality is that employees are responsible for 54% of data breaches. And while many of these threats are simply down to negligence (an employee being compromised by a phishing attack, for cexample), a large amount involved malicious intent. That’s why organizations can never downplay the threat of malicious attacks originating from within their own networks.

people working on their computers in a large office

Internal threats can be harder to detect - so use the right tools to secure your communications!

A man-in-the-middle attack remains one of the most common, and damaging threats – especially as it’s not uncommon for the victim to be completely unaware that they’ve been compromised. Unfortunately, while significant time, resource, and money is spent securing external networks, internal networks used by company employees still represent a weak link for many.

Bonus read: How to create a "culture of security" in the workplace

By default, users of internal networks are “trusted”. This can make it easier to launch a man-in-the-middle attack using freely available tools, and fly under the radar of your detection tools (and even erase evidence of the activities). From there, malicious staff members could be able to intercept all manner of internal traffic, and confidential data – from the CEO’s emails, to files shared through an internal chat and file sharing app.

In fact, it’s these types of internal messaging tools that present the greatest threat.

Employees become more confident; sharing sensitive information through insecure apps

While email was long the primary communication channel for many businesses, messaging apps like Slack have become increasingly prevalent. Unfortunately, IT policies haven’t always kept pace, and as the technology becomes embedded in our daily work routines, users become more confident – escalating from simple team chat to sharing sensitive messages and confidential files.

Because of that, it’s vital that IT teams and CIOs act quickly to determine the most appropriate solutions, and update IT and security policies to suit.

  • What type of communication is shared through the app? For apps that are being used to share sensitive information, does the app offer a level of end-to-end encryption that protects company IP and user data from man-in-the-middle attacks?

  • Will the app be used for external communication? Are staff members risking not only company IP, but also the integrity of client data? Are the apps being used in breach of your contractual obligations?

  • Can you consolidate your apps? How many communication and collaboration use cases does the solution include? Better to mandate a single, enterprise-wide solution for voice, video calling, chat and file sharing than have users hop between multiple apps with differing levels of security (and offering greater entry points for exploitation by malicious users).

With so many data breaches originating from within the firewall), it’s never too early (or too late), to better understand how employees are working with the communications tools provided to them.

Morten Brogger, CEO, Wire


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