Electronics (Apr 2021)

A Multi-Tiered Framework for Insider Threat Prevention

  • Rakan A. Alsowail,
  • Taher Al-Shehari

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 1005
p. 1005


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As technologies are rapidly evolving and becoming a crucial part of our lives, security and privacy issues have been increasing significantly. Public and private organizations have highly confidential data, such as bank accounts, military and business secrets, etc. Currently, the competition between organizations is significantly higher than before, which triggers sensitive organizations to spend an excessive volume of their budget to keep their assets secured from potential threats. Insider threats are more dangerous than external ones, as insiders have a legitimate access to their organization’s assets. Thus, previous approaches focused on some individual factors to address insider threat problems (e.g., technical profiling), but a broader integrative perspective is needed. In this paper, we propose a unified framework that incorporates various factors of the insider threat context (technical, psychological, behavioral and cognitive). The framework is based on a multi-tiered approach that encompasses pre, in and post-countermeasures to address insider threats in an all-encompassing perspective. It considers multiple factors that surround the lifespan of insiders’ employment, from the pre-joining of insiders to an organization until after they leave. The framework is utilized on real-world insider threat cases. It is also compared with previous work to highlight how our framework extends and complements the existing frameworks. The real value of our framework is that it brings together the various aspects of insider threat problems based on real-world cases and relevant literature. This can therefore act as a platform for general understanding of insider threat problems, and pave the way to model a holistic insider threat prevention system.