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Two-thirds of businesses faced insider attacks in 2020

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According to research by Atlas VPN, 65% of businesses suffered from one or more insider attacks over the last 12 months.

The research, which consisted of an online survey of 457 cyber security professionals, revealed that 41% of businesses experienced between one and five insider attacks in the last 12 months.

In addition, 12% of respondents claimed that they saw between six and 10 insider attacks in the last year, and another 5% encountered between 11 and 20 attacks. Finally, over 7% claimed they experienced more than 20 attacks in the last 12 months.

While most cyber security landscape data focuses on outsider attacks, insider threats are becoming increasingly prevalent, according to Atlas VPN. Moreover, attacks originating from within the organisation are infinitely more elusive because standard security practices are not always effective.

Insider threats arise from staff members or other internal users, including third-party partners and contractors that have access to the business’s internal databases.

There are two types of insider threats – malicious users who intend to cause harm, and users who are careless or negligent.

COO of Atlas VPN Rachel Welch says: "Outside hackers have to find ways to break through firewalls and other security measures to get into the company's databases. On the other hand, many internal users already have access to those databases, so the same safety steps are not applicable."

She adds that insider incidents can be extremely costly, and this goes beyond monetary losses. If an incident goes public, a company's public image suffers damage, which, in the long run, can cause even more losses than the immediate incident remediation costs.

Atlas VPN’s research revealed almost half (49%) of leaders surveyed claimed  remediations following an insider attack cost less than $100 000. Another 30% said monetary damages caused by a single incident are anywhere between $100 000 and $500 000. An additional 12% of those surveyed claimed the average cost of remediation after an attack is somewhere between $500 000 and $1 000 000.

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