Insider threats vs. insider attacks

I understand that a threat is a possible security violation that might exploit the vulnerability of a system, and a attack is an action on a system that harms the organisation in some way. Therefore, we should detect attacks and prevent or mitigate threats.

However, when I look on multiple cybersecurity sources focused on insider issues, the most of them talk only about the insider threats and do not talk about the insider attacks at all. In addition, they multiple times use the term insider threat even for actions that should be considered as attacks. You can see it, for example, in:


Can, please, someone explain me, what is the difference between insider attack and insider threat? Why it seems that it has a different meaning regarding insiders than in general usage? Why is mostly used term just insider threat?

Generalization of The Term “Insider Threat”

A definition of an Insider Threat in enterprises/organizations context is: "A current or former employee or business associate who has access to sensitive information or privileged accounts within the network of an organization, and who misuses this access."

I would like to know if such a threat can be generalized in a broader context so I can say that: "An Insider Threat refers to any user or entity that misuses the delegated access by taking the privilege that it is already authenticated and authorized to the system. The misuse of delegated access can be unintentional such as program flaws and failure, or intentional such as user account compromise."

Is my generalization of the term "Insider Threat" correct?

If it is not, what term is used to designate the type of threat that I defined in my generalization (2nd paragraph)?

How to protect my code from “insider” threats when hiring my first employee?

I quit my job to start my own SaaS product. I’m now looking to hire my first employee (another developer).

I will be taking appropriate legal precautions to protect my IP, but I’m wondering what other reasonable actions that I can take to further protect my code / data. The last thing that I want happen is what happened to Tesla where someone dumped the source code onto iCloud and ran off with it to a competitor.

I know that it is practically impossible to prevent this 100% from happening and that I need to make sure that I hire quality people and offer meaningful pay and have the appropriate legal documents signed. Apart from this, what else can I do to protect myself from inside threats? I am pouring in my entire life’s savings into this and I will be devastated to lose what I spent the better part of 2 years coding.

Here’s what I’ve thought of so far:

  • Buy a work laptop for them
  • Encrypt the hard drive (like with Bitlocker)
  • Disable all USB ports
  • Create a non-admin / limited user account with no install permissions and just the IDEs (e.g. Visual Studio) installed. I use Windows 10 for most development with the exception of a Mac for the iOS portion of the app development.
  • Install some kind of employee logging software.
  • Disable access to file hosting websites.
  • Somehow detect and stop when a certain folder is being uploaded or copied somewhere?
  • Somehow make the git repository only accessible from that machine.
  • Install some kind of remote admin management system? Azure Active Directory or something?

This must be a common problem for businesses but I must be searching for the wrong thing because I can’t seem to find a guide anywhere on this issue.

Dealing with an insider threat in an insecure environment

I’m not a security expert by training but I know enough to deal with the occasional breach and how to set up basic practices around SSH keys, passwords, and configuration management in general. I recently had to clean up a bitcoin miner from one of our hosts. The way I discovered it was that the miner was hogging all the CPU and running strings on the binary showed upx packer and other malicious looking strings. The whole thing smelled fishy from the start in terms of how the miner got there. I have very strong suspicion it was an inside job.

Now, the security profile at this place is very lackadaisical and I’d like to lock things down without tipping off whoever installed the miner because the obvious follow up is to fire the person and I want to mitigate the inevitable damage that someone with their current level of access can do. I doubt they’re competent enough to do further damage because they already played their trump card and it was dealt with so they’re less likely to pull the same thing but they might get other ideas and sneak in less visible exploits onto the servers.

What is the standard protocol for dealing with such situations and what is the checklist I should go through to weed out all potential insecure access paths without tipping off the insider?

There is no IT or security team. I’m it as far as security teams are concerned. I’m not looking for political cover games. I need a list of technical things I need to do to lock things down. I’m not looking for answers about politics and chains of command.

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DirectML, Windows Insider Preview and DX SDK Debacle

So, I’ve got Windows 10.0.18358.1 installed, latest Visual Studio, updated (Insider) Windows SDK which should include the DX12 SDK.

And, yet, I have no DXSDK_DIR environment variable set.

I can see all of the DX and D3D headers and libs in the windows_kits folder, but their distribution doesn’t really correspond to a typical include/bin/lib structure.

Suggestions on how to correct this? I’d settle for an echo of anyone’s PATH that has this working.