National Insider Threat Awareness Month

Digital depiction of a lock with semiconductor backgroundSeptember is National Insider Threat Awareness Month (NIATM). In a joint effort between the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), National Insider Threat Task Force (NITTF), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Intelligence and Security (USD(I&S)), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA), the goal of this month’s awareness campaign is to highlight the importance of “safeguarding our Nation from the risks posed by insider threats.” According to the NITTF, “an insider is any person with authorized access to an organization’s resources to include personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, or systems.”

The overarching theme of National Insider Threat Awareness Month 2020 is “Resilience.” As the Nation grapples with unique risks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the development of resilient tools to combat insider threats becomes of paramount importance. As suggested by the NCSC Director, William R. Evanina, resilience “helps individuals harden the target and develop behaviors, thoughts, and actions that promote personal wellbeing and mental health.” Similarly, Insider Threat awareness initiatives help promote personal and organizational resilience against exploitation of authorized access with a sole purpose of causing harm.

Trusted insiders commit intentional or unintentional disruptive or harmful acts across all infrastructure sectors and in virtually every organizational setting.

Responding to the importance of detecting, deterring, and reporting insider threats, the DCSA Center for Development of Security Excellence created a dedicated platform with suggested activities that can assist in developing tools against insider threats. Among the selected aids are games and videos, graphics, as well as case studies and real-world scenarios aimed to promote awareness and educate organization stakeholders.

In addition to these tools, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages organizations to view a recorded webinar, A Holistic Approach to Mitigating Insider Threats, to further organizational resilience and enhance risk mitigation. Furthermore, the NITTF provides free access to a specialized Resource Library containing best practices, policy templates, and guidance in development of tailored Insider Threat Programs and Insider Threat Training.

The HSDL offers many additional resources related to Cyber Crime and National Security. Please note: HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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