Insider threats pose a growing risk to organizations of all sizes.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of insider-related incidents.
An insider threat is a security risk posed by someone who has authorized access to an organization’s systems and data and uses that access for malicious purposes.
It can be perpetrated by a disgruntled employee, a careless contractor, or even a malicious actor who has gained unauthorized access to sensitive information or systems.
Insider threats can be difficult to detect and prevent, as they often come from trusted individuals who have legitimate access to the organization’s assets.
This article will walk you through the most important insider threat statistics including the amount of money spent on cybersecurity, top actors of insider threats, top reason for an insider attack, and a lot more information that you should know about.
- About $175.2 billion will be spent on cybersecurity in 2023.
- 74% of businesses have observed more frequent insider attacks.
- 63% of insider threat actors are privileged IT users.
- The top 1 reason for an insider attack is fraud.
- Inadvertent data breaches account for 71% of insider threats.
- An average data breach is discovered after 197 days.
- Attacks by insiders increased from 3,200 to 4,700 annually.
- 85% of businesses find it challenging to assess the harm caused by an inside attack.
- Every day, there are at least 2,500 internal security breaches at US companies.
- Phishing is at blame for 67% of unintentional insider risks.
Top Insider Threat Statistics in 2024
1. The Worldwide Spending on Cybersecurity Is Forecast to Be $175.2 Billion in 2023.
The insider threat statistics in recent years are very alarming.
With this, the increased spending on cybersecurity is no surprise.
As cyberattacks become more meticulous, organizations need to have the right security solutions in place to protect their systems, data, and employees.
The expected growth in cybersecurity spending is a clear indication that organizations are taking the threat of cyberattacks seriously.
By investing in cybersecurity solutions, organizations can reduce the risk of a data breach.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in the increase in cybersecurity spending.
As more and more employees work from home, organizations are having to invest in security solutions that can protect remote workers.
This is leading to increased spending on cloud security solutions, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and cloud access security brokers (CASBs).
2. What Are Insider Threats?
Insider threats are security threats posed by individuals who have legitimate access to an organization’s systems and data.
These questions may arise from individuals, including employees or others with authorized access to the organization’s systems and data.
Insider threats can manifest in deliberate actions, like data theft by an employee, or inadvertent actions, such as an employee falling victim to a phishing link.
Insider threats can be very damaging to organizations.
They can lead to data breaches, financial losses, reputational damage, and operational disruptions.
3. 74% of Businesses Have Noticed an Increase in Insider Breaches.
According to data, 74% of businesses have noticed that there is an increase in insider attack incidents.
The increase in insider breaches is a reminder that organizations need to take a comprehensive approach to security.
This includes implementing strong security controls, such as access controls, data encryption, and intrusion detection systems.
4. 63% of Insider Threat Actors Are It Privilege Users
Privileged IT users have the ability to bypass a lot of the security controls that are in place to protect against external threats.
That’s why it is no surprise that IT privilege users are the top insider attack actors.
5. Key Players in Insider Threat Activity
Insider threats can come from any level of an organization.
They can be perpetrated by executives, managers, employees, contractors, or even temporary workers.
Here are the top four insider threat actors:
- As mentioned above, 63% of the time, these insider threat actors are privileged IT users.
- There’s a 50% chance that these insider threat actors are managers who have access to sensitive data and information.
- 51% of the time, these threats are caused by regular and/or temporary employees.
- There’s also a 50% chance that these threats are caused by contractors and consultants.
6. Insider Attacks Are Predominantly Driven by Fraudulent Activities
About 55% of insider threats are motivated by fraud.
Employees who are engaged in fraud may need to access sensitive data or systems in order to carry out their schemes.
This can give them the opportunity to steal or delete data, or to install malware that can be used to gain unauthorized access to systems.
In many cases, employees who commit fraud are able to do so because they have access to sensitive data and systems that can be used to manipulate financial records or steal money.
7. Primary Drivers of Insider Attacks
Aside from fraud, the following are some of the key motivations for insider attacks.
- In line with fraud, almost half or 49% of the time, insider attacks are for the purpose of monetary gain.
- Lastly, one of the common reasons why people are doing insider attacks is for IP theft. Intellectual property (IP) theft is a significant concern for organizations of all sizes. Insiders who have access to sensitive information may steal trade secrets, customer data, or other valuable IP for their own gain or to benefit a competitor.
8. 71% of Insider Risks Come from Unintentional Data Leaks
Human error is the leading cause of insider risks, accounting for 71% of all incidents.
Unintentional data leaks can occur in a variety of ways, such as sending sensitive information to the wrong person, posting sensitive information on public websites or social media, leaving sensitive documents in unsecured locations, losing or misplacing portable devices that contain sensitive data, and failing to properly dispose of sensitive documents.
These types of mistakes can have serious consequences for organizations, as they can lead to the disclosure of confidential information to unauthorized individuals.
In some cases, unintentional data leaks can even lead to legal liability for the organization.
(AT & T business)
9. Each Year, 34% Are Affected by Insider Attacks
Insider attacks can have a devastating impact on organizations, both financially and reputationally.
The fact that 34% of firms are affected by insider risks each year highlights the prevalence of this type of threat in which companies must be wary about.
33% of Businesses Have Over Half of Their Workloads in The Cloud
The cloud is now the primary platform for over half of the workloads of 33% of businesses.
The increasing use of cloud computing has a number of implications for insider threats.
For starters, insider threats can now have a wider impact, as they can potentially affect data that is stored in the cloud.
Additionally, insider threats can be more difficult to detect in the cloud, as they can take advantage of the anonymity and complexity of cloud environments.
10. Organizations Take an Average of 196 Days to Detect Data Breaches
It takes organizations an average of 196 days to identify that their data has been breached.
The amount of time it takes to detect data breaches is really alarming.
The longer it takes for an organization to detect an insider threat, the greater time it gives attackers to exploit the breach and cause harm to the organization.
The long time it takes to discover data breaches can have a significant impact on organizations.
It is important for organizations to take steps to reduce the time it takes to discover data breaches.
11. From 3,200 to 4,700 Attacks by Insiders per Year
The range of 3,200 to 4,700 insider attacks per year indicates that insider threats are a significant and persistent problem for organizations.
This range is based on estimates from a variety of sources, including government agencies, security firms, and research organizations.
The fact that the number of insider attacks is estimated to be in the thousands each year highlights the need for organizations to take steps to mitigate the risk of insider threats.
Insider threats can have a significant impact on organizations, causing financial losses, reputational damage, and even legal liability.
(Inter Mix IT)
12. 85% of Organizations Find It Difficult to Determine the Damage Brought on By an Inside Attack
Inside attacks can be very difficult to detect and prevent, and even if they are detected, it can be difficult to assess the full extent of the damage.
About 85% of businesses agree that it is harder to access the damage caused by an insider threat, even after detection.
The difficulty in determining the damage from an inside attack can have a number of negative consequences for organizations.
First, it can make it difficult to respond to the attack effectively.
If the organization does not know what damage has been done, they cannot take the necessary steps to mitigate the damage and prevent further attacks.
13. US Companies Experience at Least 2,500 Internal Security Breaches per Day
At least 2,500 internal security breaches occur daily at US firms, posing a significant threat to their data and systems.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the high rate of internal security breaches at US companies.
One factor is the increasing sophistication of cybercriminals.
Cybercriminals are constantly developing new tools and techniques to attack organizations.
In addition, the increasing use of cloud computing and other emerging technologies has created new vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
Another factor that contributes to the high rate of internal security breaches is human error.
Employees are often the first line of defense against cyberattacks, but they can also be the weakest link.
They may accidentally click on phishing links, open malicious attachments, or fall victim to other social engineering attacks.
14. Phishing Is to Blame for 67% of Unintended Insider Threats
Phishing is the leading cause of unintentional insider threats, accounting for 67% of all incidents.
15. But What Is Phishing?
Phishing is a type of social engineering attack in which an attacker attempts to trick the victim into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
Phishing attacks can be carried out through a variety of means, including email, text message, and social media.
It is a common method for carrying out unintended insider attacks because it is relatively easy to do and can be very effective.
Attackers often target employees with phishing emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as the employee’s company or a well-known brand.
16. More About Phishing
The email may contain a link that, when clicked, takes the victim to a fake website that looks like the real website.
The victim may then be prompted to provide their login credentials or other sensitive information in order to access a fake website or service.
The fact that phishing is to blame for 67% of unintended insider threats highlights the importance of security awareness training for employees.
Employees should be taught how to identify phishing emails and other social engineering attacks.
They should also be taught to follow security best practices, such as using strong passwords and being wary of clicking on links in emails or opening attachments.
In addition to security awareness training, organizations can also implement technical measures to reduce the risk of phishing attacks.
Organizations can also use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security to employee logins.
17. Emails Are the Source of 94% of Viruses
Emails are the source of 94% of viruses because they are a very efficient way to spread malware.
Emails can be used to send attachments that contain viruses, or they can contain links to malicious websites.
Aside from that, emails can be used to carry out phishing attacks, which can trick users into revealing sensitive information that can then be used to spread malware.
18. Cybercrime Experienced a Significant Increase of 38% in 2022
Cybercrime grew by a considerable 38% in 2022, underscoring the need for organizations and individuals to invest in cybersecurity solutions.
The 38% growth in cybercrime in 2022 is a significant statistic that demonstrates the importance of cybersecurity awareness and education.
It highlights the rapid pace at which cybercrime is evolving and the growing threat that it poses to organizations of all sizes.
19. It Takes an Average of 75 Days to Control the Damage of An Insider Attacks
The fact that it takes an average of 75 days to control the damage of an insider attack is a significant statistic.
It highlights the severity of insider attacks and the challenges that organizations face in responding to them.
Insider attacks can have a devastating impact on organizations, and the fact that it takes an average of 75 days to control the damage highlights the severity of this threat and the challenges that organizations face in responding to it.
The 75-day average time to control the damage of an insider attack highlights the importance of early detection and response.
Organizations that can quickly detect and respond to insider threats are more likely to be able to minimize the damage caused by those attacks.
20. Insider Threats Are Most Common in The Healthcare, Financial, and Technology Sectors
The healthcare, financial, and technology sectors are at the forefront of innovation, which makes them attractive targets for insider threats.
In addition, these sectors are also prone to insider threats because they are often targeted by attackers.
Attackers know that these sectors possess valuable data and intellectual property, and they are therefore more likely to target them with insider threats.
There are a number of factors why these sectors are most vulnerable to inside attackers.
For instance, the healthcare sector possesses a vast amount of sensitive data, such as patient medical records, financial information, and intellectual property.
21. Threats in The Financial and Technology Sector
On the other hand, the financial sector is another sector that possesses a vast amount of sensitive data, including customer account information, financial transactions, and trade secrets.
Lastly, the technology sector is a sector that is constantly innovating and developing new technologies.
This sector also possesses a vast amount of intellectual property, like trade secrets and proprietary software.
How to Prevent Insider Threats?
Insider threats are a serious security concern, but there are a number of things that organizations can do to mitigate the risk.
1. Establish a Security Policy
Setting up a security policy is an essential part of any organization’s security program.
A good security policy protects the company’s assets, including their data, systems, and employees against any cyber threats.
2. Execute a Program for Threat Detection
A threat detection program is a critical part of any organization’s cybersecurity strategy.
It helps to identify and respond to cyber threats before they can cause damages.
3. Establish a Secure Authentication Measures
To ensure that your data and credentials are safe, make sure to use multi-factor authentication or MFA.
This will help prevent other unauthorized people from accessing the system, which contains your data.
4. Shut Down Idle Accounts
Inactive accounts are more likely to be used by attackers since they are not regularly monitored.
It is important to immediately eliminate idle accounts to avoid any data breach.
5. Check out Strange Behaviors
Behavior monitoring is the process of tracking and analyzing user activity on a network or system.
It can be used to identify suspicious activity that may indicate a data breach or other security incident.
6. Track Third-Party Access
By tracking third-party access, organizations can identify and mitigate the risks associated with third-party vendors.
This can help to prevent data breaches, compliance violations, and malware infections.
Organizations can reduce the risk of insider threats and protect their sensitive data and systems by taking a proactive approach to security.
Insider threats are attacks to an organization that comes from within the organization.
It can be posed by employees, contractors, and other people who have access to the organization’s systems and data.
Insider threats can be very harmful and damaging to an organization as they can lead to data breaches, financial losses, reputational damages, and operational disruptions.
As more businesses and organizations shift their data and systems into the cloud, the numbers surrounding insider attacks are growing.
Knowing these insider threat statistics can raise awareness and help in creating a culture with more secured security that will help safeguard the data of the company.