20 March 2016

Vigilance: The Casualty of the Truth...

On the other end of a planned cyber threat are the motives and plans by a person.  Sometimes that person puts into play the use of a "Bot" to carry out many of their planned steps in their scheme.  Operational Risk Management (ORM) professionals have been classifying these cybercriminals for a decade or more yet even now in 2016 they are getting more formal profiles:

BAE Systems, the London-based, multinational security company, recently released profiles of “six prominent types of cybercriminals” and detailed how they could hurt companies around the globe, officials say.

Threat intelligence experts at BAE Systems have compiled a list, “The Unusual Suspects,” that has been created from “research that uncovers the motivations and methods of the most common types of cybercriminals,” according to BAE. “The intention of the campaign is to help enterprises understand the various enemies they face so they can better defend against cyberattacks.” BAE Systems officials have profiled six cybercriminal types:
  • The Mule – naive opportunists that may not even realize they work for criminal gangs to launder money;
  • The Professional – career criminals who work 9-to-5 in the digital shadows;
  • The Nation State Actor – individuals who work directly or indirectly for their government to steal sensitive information and disrupt enemies’ capabilities;
  • The Activist – motivated to change the world via questionable means;
  • The Getaway – the youthful teenager who can escape a custodial sentence due to their age;
  • And The Insider – disillusioned, blackmailed or even over-helpful employees operating from within the walls of their own company.
These individuals and groups have caused billions of dollars in losses and caused significant harm to millions of people and organizations.  Now what?

It will be many more years to come, before the laws catch-up to the technology and those who use the vector of the Internet to carry out their crimes against humanity.  Law enforcement has their hands continually tied by the laws and the geographic challenges of a global epidemic.  Governments and politicians are in constant battle over the privacy vs. security philosophy and all the legal issues.

While the wheels of Parliament, or the U.S. Congress slowly turn and the mechanisms for law enforcement become more robust for evidence collection, investigations and prosecutions, there are significant strategies of resilience that we must focus our respective vigilance.  It is not anything new per se, just a renewed emphasis and a new commitment to redesigning our digital environments.  We can do better.

For now, what if we just pick one cybercriminal type to focus on.  The "Insider".

The "Insider" is most likely in almost every formal organization today, working diligently to mask and perpetuate their goals until they are revealed.  It is your "Duty of Care" to continuously deter, detect, defend and document within your enterprise.  The "Insider" could be anyone and so how can the organization work ever more so vigilantly?

It begins at the core of the business and the culture that surrounds those principles within your company, your team or your relationship with suppliers.  The environment you build and sustain shall have the transparency and the elements necessary to sustain a culture where the "Insider" is incapable of operating.  Where the culture itself, makes the environment impossible for the "Insider" to operate without disclosure.

We would encourage Operational Risk Management (ORM) professionals to incorporate new found strategies, new management tools and a renewed effort to extinguish the "Insider" threat across the globe.  The best way we can do this today, is to work on the culture and to establish the foundations for future "Trust Decisions" within the enterprise.  The root of changing the culture and achieving the desired future environment, begins with every single decision to trust.

The journey ahead will be long and full of new found challenges.  The vision of the future and the outcomes received will soon be more apparent.  Now the real work begins to start the journey with your own organization, with each person and understanding the environment and culture you seek.  And remember:
"In war, truth is the first casualty."
Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC - 456 BC)

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