What is Insider Threat?

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Insider Threat is defined as, “[Any] authorized access to harm US security. This threat includes damage through espionage, terrorism, unauthorized disclosure of information, and loss or degradation of departmental resources or capabilities”.  Insider Threat can be also described as anyone in an organization causing harm to that organization.

Who Does This Apply To?

The Government is faced with the potential for employees and cleared contractors who may not have national security in the forefront of their minds.  Potential insider threats could be people that:

  • Work to gather intelligence for other countries or groups
  • Need help getting ahead in life, primarily financially
  • Employed in any number of fields inside the government or industry

It is our responsibility to provide a holistic, risk-based approach when possible by gathering information on possible personnel risk through all facets of the person (HR, payroll, computer usage, conversations with co-workers, etc.).

What are Some Indicators of a Potential Insider Threat?

It is the Government’s job to protect us and it is our job to protect classified national security information entrusted to us and our own proprietary information. Some of the indicators to insider threat to be aware of include:

  • Consistent negative comments related to national security or other policies
  • Changes in work behavior:
    • Working odd hours
    • Gaining access to unrelated areas
    • Excessive use of resources – printing classified documents
  • A sudden change in a person’s life style – extravagant purchases, trips, etc.

So what is at Stake Here?

An unchecked insider threat can lead to:

  • Compromise or national security
  • Extensive financial loss to the country
  • Potential loss of proprietary information

If You See Something, Say Something!

Talking to your fellow colleagues, without confrontation, can be a strong deterrence against Insider Threats.  Talk to your Security Officer in confidence if you notice any odd behaviors – if you see something, say something. If people feel they are a valuable asset to the organization they will be less apt to commit any offense.