Nearly half of IT professionals are more concerned about insider threats than external hackers, according to a new report.

In a survey by Dimensional Research and Preempt, 49 per cent of the respondents said they were more concerned about internal than external threats.

73 per cent said they were most concerned about malware installed by careless employees, while 66 per cent said they were worried about stolen or compromised credentials and 65 per cent were concerned about stolen data.

Meanwhile, 87 per cent are more concerned about naive employees or those who bend the rules to get their jobs done than malicious insiders who set out to do harm.

“Internal threats are emerging as equally as important as external threats, according to respondents,” said Diane Hagglund, founder and principal of Dimensional Research.

“This means that an employee cutting corners to get their job done more efficiently is viewed as potentially just as dangerous as a malicious external hacker.

“Yet these views aren’t reflected in the allocation of security budgets, which is traditionally focused on perimeter security.”

10 per cent of the IT professionals surveyed said their security teams lack the necessary skills to protect against insider threats and 64 per cent said they have the skills but are too overworked to respond.

91 per cent said insiders have access to systems that they should not be able to use, while 70 per cent said they cannot effectively monitor privileged user activity.

At a recent roundtable in London, cyber security professionals spoke about rogue employees and why they may be the biggest cyber security threat to many businesses.

Jenny Radcliffe, head of training and consultancy at Jenny Radcliffe Training, said many businesses underestimate the threat within their own four walls.

“A lot of the time organisations just are not in touch with the way people feel in the organisation,” she said. “It is not so much that they have a problem – it is just that the loyalty can be stretched for various reasons… People overestimate how loyal employees are. They are loyal to themselves, not the people that they work for.”

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