Most data breaches caused by insiders in India, shows report

Updated on Oct 24, 2022 05:11 AM IST

In cyber security terms, an insider threat or insider refers to a malicious threat to an organisation through people within the company. These insiders may include existing or former employees who are familiar with the company’s security practices, data and computer systems.

The report, by Kaspersky’s Digital Footprint Intelligence for the year 2021, found that the highest number of advertisements by people claiming to be insiders comes from India. (Shutterstock)
The report, by Kaspersky’s Digital Footprint Intelligence for the year 2021, found that the highest number of advertisements by people claiming to be insiders comes from India. (Shutterstock)
ByGautam S Mengle, Hindustan Times, Mumbai

Insiders may be most responsible for data breaches from companies in India, a recent research report has suggested after studying listings on the dark web, where underground market places exist for hacked or leaked sensitive personal data that people share with websites.

The report, by Kaspersky’s Digital Footprint Intelligence for the year 2021, found that the highest number of advertisements by people claiming to be insiders comes from India.

In cyber security terms, an insider threat or insider refers to a malicious threat to an organisation through people within the company. These insiders may include existing or former employees who are familiar with the company’s security practices, data and computer systems.

“An insider threat is a risk for an organisation that comes from people inside the security loop.An insider here refers to any person who has or was authorised access to the organisation’s databases, systems, resources, facilities and more. Our latest Digital Footprint Intelligence report for Asia Pacific showed that selling insider services on the darknet is especially common in India and Pakistan,” Kaspersky told HT.

Kaspersky’s report, a copy of which HT has reviewed, focuses on activities observed on dark web chat forums and which pertain to the Asia Pacific region.

These forums serve as online marketplaces, with leaked information being available for sale to the highest bidder. Data is always the most sought-after commodity in such marketplaces.

According to the report, India ranks first in terms of Insider Activity Orders, suggesting sales or free access to an organisation’s internal data. This includes entire databases of customers or employees, confidential documents, credit or debit card data, information on prominent personalities associated with a particular organisation among others.

“India continues to be a sitting duck for numerous domestic and international cyberattacks as the world’s second-biggest smart device user and one of the largest internet customer bases,” Kaspersky said.

The report also found that India is the second choice of country for advertisements by hackers, after Australia. Nearly 120 advertisements offering to target Indian organisations to hack and steal their data were observed on darknet forums in 2021, it said.

Further, India is the third country offering the most vulnerable services against cyber attacks, the report claimed.

“The bulk of vulnerable services in India are used in the government sector, followed by healthcare, industrial and financial,” the report said.

“Factors like the ongoing digital transformation, the growth in use of mobile and internet devices and the increase in remote work associated with the Covid-19 pandemic have increased the available attack surface across all of IT. Since the beginning of the pandemic, organisations in India have seen a 4,000-percent increase in phishing emails. Since shifting to a remote work model, approximately two-thirds of these same organisations have fallen victim to cyber-attacks,” Kaspersky said.

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