Over Half of UK Firms Concerned About Insider Threats

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A majority (54%) of UK business decision makers are concerned about the likelihood of their employees being approached by cybercriminals, according to a new Cifas study.

The non-profit polled 500 individuals responsible for staff training programmes and budgets in companies of over 1000 employees that offer hybrid working.

The results of its survey revealed increasing anxiety about the likelihood of staff disclosing sensitive information or providing network access to fraudsters in exchange for cash.

This can be seen in the context of a cost-of-living crisis which is stretching many workers’ finances to the limit, and the growing trend of hybrid working and remote-first operations which may enable wrongdoing to go unnoticed.

Read more on UK fraud: Brits Lose $9.3bn to Scams in a Year

Cifas said organizations need counter-fraud measures and internal controls in place to ensure their workforces are protected, regardless of location. This in turn will help to guard against potentially devastating financial and reputational damage, added Rachael Tiffen, Cifas director of learning.

“While large corporates know it is vital to tackle the increasing threat of fraud, they must have the operations and investment in place to enable their workforces to better understand the impact fraud can have, and the ripple effect it can cause throughout their organization,” she argued.

“Equipping staff with the specialist tools and knowledge to identify ever-evolving, modern-day fraud threats confidently and accurately can prove to be business critical.”

Surprisingly, despite fraud now accounting for 40% of all crime in England and Wales, nearly one in 10 (8%) respondents claimed they aren’t concerned about any type of fraud in the coming year.

Two separate studies last year confirmed mounting concerns over insider threats.

Bridewell Consulting revealed that over a third (35%) of critical national infrastructure (CNI) security leaders in the UK and US believe the economic downturn is forcing employees to turn to data theft and sabotage. It claimed that the number of employee sabotage incidents at CNI firms surged by 62% year-on-year.

Separately, a CyberSmart poll revealed that half of UK business leaders believe their organization has been at greater risk of attacks since the start of the cost-of-living crisis. Two-fifths (38%) of those respondents claimed this is due to malicious insiders, while 35% cited overworked and distracted staff making mistakes.

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