Insider Threats: Big Enough to be Parodied on The Simpsons

Tuesday, January 25, 2011



How do you know if you have truly achieved truly iconic status in American culture?

Well, if you have been parodied on the long running prime-time animated series The Simpsons, you can rest assured that you have finally arrived.

This week's addition to the ranks of the pop-culture uber-famous was not a rock star, not an actor, nor a Youtube sensation. The most recent member of the coveted Simpson parody club is, believe it or not, none other than the Insider Threat.

The storyline from the January 23, 2011 episode tells the tale of the ever growing threat to information security posed by insider access to sensitive information, with a touch of social engineering and industrial espionage thrown in to boot.

"Bart then realizes that he could sell secrets about the nuclear power plant with other countries. He agrees to sell them to China in exchange for a mini-bike. To gain access to the Nuclear Plant's PCs, Bart begins doing typical father-son activities with Homer, eventually leading up to Homer bringing Bart to work. When Homer falls asleep, Bart goes around the plant downloading information onto a USB."

It would be funny if it were not so terribly serious. Remember it was Bradley Manning and his portable CD player that most likely led to the WikiLeaks debacle.

A survey of 1000 white collar employees conducted by Imperva last fall shows that more than two-thirds are willing to take everything from client and customer records to the intellectual property of their employer.

The study revealed that 85% have confidential company information on their home computers or personal mobile devices, 75% admit to having client records, and 27% to having sensitive intellectual data.

At least half of the employees surveyed had accessed data they were not cleared to peruse, and three-quarters stated that the data access control mechanisms in place were easy to bypass.

Compliance protocols, monitoring systems, and training can not defend against threats posed by the insider element, and this fact presents the single largest obstacle to information security.

Possibly Related Articles:
Insider Threats Social Engineering Intellectual Property Removable Media Headlines Espionage Employees Information Security breach
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