Insider Risk Digest: Week 35-36

Insider Highlights:

With Insider risk becoming an increasingly common threat organisations are facing, staying informed of trends and occurrences is key to safeguarding assets, information, and people. Every two weeks, we bring you a round-up of five cases that have caught our eye, considering the implications that can be drawn and the lessons that can be learnt. These will cover high-profile cases and reflect on emerging trends, creating a relevant collection for all organisations

The first case concerns the U.S., where Chinese ‘Gate Crashers’ have reportedly trespassed into U.S. military sites and facilities. At least 100 instances have been recorded of Chinese nationals entering defence bases. These individuals posed as tourists, and it is believed that these intrusions served as an effort to assess physical security practices at the various military facilities. These accusations come as tensions are increasingly rising between the U.S. and China, signalling that the widespread espionage trends we are seeing are likely to continue, calling for government agencies to be on high alert.

Physical Security

In early August the Police Service of Northern Ireland suffered a data leak when responding to a public Freedom of Information request, accidentally publishing the personal and employment details of every police officer and civilian member of staff. Officers and staff of the PSNI operate in heightened security situations due to their potential status as targets for dissident republicans in Northern Ireland. MPs have now been discussing the potential cost of this leak, which could reach £240 million in extra security officers and potential legal action. However, the cost is not just monetary: trust in the police service has sharply declined, and uncertainty and fear have spread across the PSNI’s workforce. This serves as a stark reminder of the potential impact of human error can have on organisations, and the important need for adequate training and security measures to protect sensitive information.

Freecycle is an online forum for exchanging unwanted items. Freecycle suffered a data breach exposing the personal information of over 7 million users, including usernames, IDs, and passwords. According to some reports, the hackers managed to enter the Freecycle network through having access to Freecycle’s founder’s credentials. Implementing adequate password management tools and policies greatly reduces the chances of suffering these types of unintentional mistakes. Breaches such as these can profoundly damage trust in the platform, whilst also creating monetary costs such as fines over the failure to adequately protect customer data.


A former bank teller of Nationwide has been jailed after participating in a fraud scheme of over £130,000. Through abusing his position within the bank, the individual and his accomplice changed bank customers’ account details and fraudulently issued bank passbooks. This allowed for a total of £130,000 to be taken from victims’ accounts. The fraud was spotted by Nationwide more than a year after the scheme had started. Whilst insider bank fraud is quite rare, when insiders are directly involved, the cases become increasingly complex, especially regarding the refunding of damages to victims. The financial sector is becoming an increasingly fruitful target: only last year, £1.2 billion was stolen through fraud with almost 3 million cases, a clearly topical category of insider risk.

Kroll, a risk advisory based in New York, has suffered a data breach after one of its employees fell victim to a ‘Sim Swap’ attack. Kroll stated that T-Mobile, without any authority, transferred an employee’s phone number to the threat actor’s phone at their request. This made it possible for the threat actor to gain access to certain files containing the personal information of clients affiliated with the bankrupt cryptocurrency platforms FTX, Genesis and BlockFi. An increasingly popular attack method, Sim swapping exposes the vulnerabilities organisations can be subject to through third parties, whilst also highlighting the increasingly innovative social engineering tactics that are emerging.

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Lucas Seewald

Author: Lucas Seewald

Marketing Specialist

Enrico - Intern at Signpost Six

Author: Enrico Henriksson

Insider Risk Intern

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