Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 37, No 1 February 2016

MCLE Self-Study Article A Hidden Insider Threat: Exposing Visual Hackers

By Mari J. Frank, Esq., CIPP

When we think of hackers breaching systems and stealing information from our law firms or our clients’ businesses, we don’t usually suspect trusted employees as the guilty parties.

But insider threats are in fact a very real and growing challenge. Security services provider SANS Institute surveyed nearly 800 IT and security professionals across multiple industries and found that 74 percent of respondents were concerned about negligent or malicious employees who might be insider threats, while 34 percent said they have experienced an insider incident or attack.1

Unscrupulous insiders employ alternate approaches to traditional hacking methods to gain access to networks and sensitive information. And it’s this craftiness that makes them such a threat to our firms and our clients’ organizations. Businesses and law firms are often so focused on technology vulnerabilities that they overlook risks from the human factor. Indeed, a Crowd Research Partners survey of more than 500 cybersecurity professionals found that 62 percent of respondents said insider attacks are more difficult to detect and prevent than external cyberattacks.2

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