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Shall we play a game?

July 9, 2019

It’s that famous line delivered by Joshua (a.k.a. WOPR, or War Operation Plan Response) to Matthew Broderick in the movie WarGames from 1983. It’s been a long time since that movie first came out, so here’s a quick refresher – Broderick thinks he’s hacking into a software developer and gains access to a host of new games being released. But he unwittingly hacks into a Department of Defense system and almost starts global thermonuclear war. Ok, we’re not here to review movies, so the reason I’m bringing this up is because it’s another 80’s movie that focused on the insider threat, but it’s still a critical problem today!

Broderick was able to break into the system by guessing the login credentials of WOPR’s developer. He became the inside threat. Now there are countless phishing campaigns being launched to steal employee credentials and gain access to business-critical systems. Unfortunately, it’s not a game. And it’s not always a Hollywood script with a happy ending.

The reality is that the biggest security threats are already inside your business landscape. Inside users silently navigate through your applications and databases, possibly exposing data through accidental misuse, compromised credentials or malicious intent. However, security teams prioritize monitoring and searching for attacks and intrusions coming from outside. Insider threat is usually considered mitigated with protections in accordance with data and access governance policies which ensure privileged access management, multi-factor authentication, data encryption and more.

Organizations have to keep track of many different types of users including employees, contractors and privileged users who need temporary privileged access to business applications to troubleshoot a problem or respond quickly to a business issue.

But many companies are outsourcing user access management and that’s leading to issues. They can’t keep track of employees moving to other departments or leaving the company, keeping access open to applications that should have been turned off. 

So what can you do? Automation ensures that access for privileged users expires at the right time or that notifications are created when a user has access to systems that conflict with internal controls. And it all happens in real time. Find out more by downloading An Insider Threat Checklist for Your Business-Critical Applications: 10 Steps You Must Take to Prevent the Inside Threat from Wreaking Havoc on Your Applications.

And if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can watch the WarGames trailer by clicking here