Firms must beware the enemies
within says
IT expert

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Trusted insiders can destroy a business, according to a leading anti-money laundering and information systems expert.

Dr Dionysios Demetis, lecturer at Hull University Business School, and expert on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Information Systems, said yesterday: “In 2014, 78 per cent of large UK companies experienced either or both external and internal attacks.

Every industry suffers from ‘insider threats’ in various ways, and not all are deliberate.

“According to the annual security report commissioned by the Department of Business Innovation & Skills, 36 per cent of the worst security breaches last year were caused by inadvertent human error, and on top of that 10 per cent by deliberate misuse.”

A single security breach can end up costing a small company up to £70,000, and large organisations over £800,000, he warned.

Dr Demetis said: “As technology changes working practices and our reliance on technological operations deepens, no company, or institution, can be casual about information security.

“No company can afford to ignore the issue, and hope that everything will turn out fine. Statistically speaking, that is very unlikely.”

An additional complication is that the insider threats to which an organisation is exposed are typically more severe than conventional attacks, as insiders already have considerable access to company information.

They know the company’s processes, priorities, weaknesses and infrastructure.

In brief, they know what sensitive data can be divulged to competitors, particularly in cases of commercial espionage, or what can be distorted to cause damage to the company.

Dr Demetis will be holding an event, The Enemy Within – People Risks to Business, as part of the Humber Business Week 3 June, 3-5pm, at Hull University Business School.