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Cisco has added its weight to the growing consensus that a recession has a knock-on effect of driving up cybercrime as redundant employees resort to using technology to hit back at employers and gain sensitive information.
There have already been warnings from security specialists that internal threats are on the rise, but the networking vendor is also drawing attention to the threat in its half-year security report.
One of the areas of particular risk highlighted by Cisco is the use of short-term IT staff and contractors.
The Cisco mid-year report also warns against web 2.0 applications and the growing use of phising to gain access to users' financial information. But it had some upbeat views on the efforts of law-enforcement agencies to tackle the problem.
"As predicted in the Cisco 2008 Annual Security Report, attacks are only becoming more sophisticated and targeted as we move through 2009 and the global recession. However, while cybercrime is more pervasive, there are encouraging signs that increased collaboration among the 'good guys' is not only making it more difficult for attacks to take root and grow, but also helping to bring criminals to justice," said the vendor.
There has been an on-going problem in raising the internal threat issue with customers, and in April research from GFI highlighted not just a widespread customer failure to comprehend the internal threat but also to keep a handle on backing up and archiving data.
The survey found that 50% of employers did not view staff departures and the potential for data loss or theft as a problem. In addition, 21% of those quizzed revealed they had no way of tracking critical data to pin down where it was at any given point in time.