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A Discussion of the Insider Threat

A Discussion of the Insider Threat. Outside. Inside. Jason Franklin. Example Insider Attack. Ivan the insider gets fired and Alf the administrator forgets to void Ivan’s (login) credentials.

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A Discussion of the Insider Threat

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  1. A Discussion of the Insider Threat Outside Inside Jason Franklin

  2. Example Insider Attack • Ivan the insider gets fired and Alf the administrator forgets to void Ivan’s (login) credentials. • Ivan goes home, logins into his work machine and takes some malicious action (introduces bugs into source, deletes files and backups, etc…) • Alternatively, Alf might void Ivan’s credentials, but forget that Ivan also uses a shared group account.

  3. Trusted Computing Base Proposed Definition • A malicious insider is an adversary who operates inside the trusted computing base, basically a trusted adversary. • The insider threat is an adversarial model encompassing all possible malicious insiders. Ivan

  4. Example Threats • Data corruption, deletion, and modification • Leaking sensitive data • Denial of service attacks • Blackmail • Theft of corporate data • On and on….

  5. Statistics • Insider attacks account for as much as 80% of all computer and Internet related crimes [1] • 70% of attacks causing at least $20,000 of damage are the direct result of malicious insiders [1] • Majority of insiders are privileged users and majority of attacks are launched from remote machines [3]

  6. Problem Discussion • Typical adversarial models ignore the insider threat by assuming the TCB is free of threats • Insider threat violates this assumption Corporate Network Firewall/IDS

  7. Prevailing Sentiments (Myths?) • Current systems are capable of countering the insider threat • Insider threat is impossible to counter because of the insider’s resources and access permissions • Insider attacks are a social or organizational issue which cannot be countered by technical means (Anderson94)

  8. Remediation: Initial Thoughts • Minimize the size of the TCB to decrease the number of possible insiders • Distribute trust amongst multiple parties to force collusion • Most insiders act alone • Question trust assumptions made in computing systems • Treat the LAN like the WAN • BroLAN, SANE, etc… • Others?

  9. Is the insider threat unavoidable? • If we define an insider as an adversary inside the TCB, can we ever eliminate the insider threat? • Perhaps we can only reduce the number of possible insiders or the extent of possible damage? • Perhaps we should rely on the “lone wolf” nature of insiders and distribute trust?

  10. Discussion • Is the insider threat definition a good one? • Is the insider an actual threat or just media hype? • Can/do we build systems that already counter the insider threat? • Is this worth our time? • What’s the best paper you could imagine in this area?

  11. References • [1] Jim Carr. Strategies and issues: Thwarting insider attacks, 2002. • [2] Nathan Einwechter. The enemy inside the gates: Preventing and detecting insider attacks, 2002. • [3] National Threat Assessment Center - Insider Threat Study, http://www.ustreas.gov/usss/ntac_its.shtml • [4] Jason Franklin, Parisa Tabriz, and Matthew Thomas. A Case Study of the Insider Threat through Modifications to Legacy Network Security Architectures, unpublished manuscript.

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