Insider Risk Digest: May

Welcome to this month’s Insider Risk Digest. This edition reveals a University of Florida professor and students involved in a scheme to ship illicit substances to China, the arrest of Schiphol Airport employees for cocaine smuggling, and the growing threat of foreign interference in European universities. We also examine Russian influence infiltrating the European Parliament and the risks of remote work, highlighted by North Korean IT workers posing as Americans to fund their weapons programme.

A professor at the University of Florida researcher, alongside two students, has been implicated in a multi-million dollar scheme involving the shipping of illicit substances to China for over 7 years. Such substances included non-contagious toxins and small amounts of purified drugs intended for analytical samples. One of the students indicted was the president of the University’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association. The case surfaces shortly after growing concerns over a “culture of fear” that has been instilled, with laws passed banning collaboration between the university and individuals from “countries of concern”.

Six employees at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport were arrested for their involvement in an international cocaine smuggling operation. The arrests followed the discovery of several shipments of hard drugs in Asia and at Schiphol itself. The employees are suspected of facilitating the transport and placement of the drugs in cargo holds of planes thanks to their privileged access, highlighting more needs to be done in crucial areas such as Dutch ports and airports against subversive insider risk. 

Foreign interference and academic espionage are becoming increasingly important topics in the European landscape. National governments are looking to safeguard critical research in sensitive areas due to fears over internally driven tech leakage. Concerning, however, is the proposition that a direct line to intelligence agencies and complete closure from high-risk countries will reduce the costs universities are currently facing related to knowledge security challenges. 

Russian influence operations aimed at spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda have begun relying on the Members of the European Parliament’s involvement. Employees are said to be playing a significant role in such operations infiltrating the European parliament. Amongst the suspects are Dutch EU lawmaker Marcel de Graaff’s parliamentary staffer. Alarmingly, according to numerous reports arising from intelligence agencies, politicians from Germany, France, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Hungary are all exerting pro-Russian influence from within.

When those who are supposed to protect society switch sides: Swedish Prime Minister Kristensson admitted his concerns over the incredibly damaging revelations by the Swedish Newspaper DN, police employees have been leaking confidential information. Criminals have exploited vulnerable individuals within the police force, either through romantic relationships or intimidation, with the goal of obtaining confidential information on investigations and enemy gang members. In four cases, leaks were followed up with revenge attacks, including murders. 

Thank you for reading this edition of the Insider Risk Digest. These cases underscore the urgent need for robust insider risk management. If you found this digest useful, share it on your socials and stay tuned for more updates. 

Take the Next Step in Insider Threat Mitigation

Concerned about insider threats within your organisation?

Book a meeting with our experts today to develop a tailored strategy that safeguards your organisation's integrity and intellectual property

Book a Meeting

Share Post Online

Join the conversation

Shopping Bag 0