With reports suggesting that intellectual property theft could be costing the American economy hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue, cybersecurity specialist Symantec has released new research providing insight into the business conditions that foster insider data breaches.
Although international cybercriminals will continue to set their sights on sensitive data held by U.S. corporations, employee theft of trade secrets and other intellectual assets may be a more immediate concern.
"Most organizations are aware of the security threats posed by outsiders, but the malicious insider within their own ranks may pose an even greater risk," noted Symantec spokesman Francis deSouza.
According to FBI reports, these insider data breaches are a significant contributor to the more than $250 billion in losses U.S. businesses suffered each year as a result of IP theft. To help companies diagnose potential vulnerabilities, Symantec analysts partnered with psychological profiling experts Eric Shaw and Harley Stock.
Among the more interesting findings included in the report were the revelations that the majority of incidents occur following a professional setback or after an employee has accepted a position with a separate firm. Symantec also encourages companies to conduct pre-employment screenings and continuous evaluation, as approximately three quarters of all stolen material was taken by technical administrators with authorized access.