Security firm Imperva praises US memo on insider threats

The memo by US intelligence officials applies to all organisations, says security firm Imperva.

The memo by US intelligence officials urging government agencies to set up insider threat programmes applies to all organisations, says security firm Imperva.

The 11-page memo sent to all agencies handling classified data calls for the introduction of methods to detect behavioural changes in employees.

The move comes after whistle-blowing website Wikileaks started publishing thousands of leaked US diplomatic cables.

Anyone in security should read the memo carefully, said Noa Bar-Yosef, senior security strategist at Imperva.

"The memo asks good questions to help government agencies or even private companies assess the possible threat of an insider," he said.

While the memo focuses on raising awareness to help spot insider threats, said Bar-Yosef, awareness is only one part of the solution.

Automation is the other essential element, he said, because being aware only part time is not good enough.

"Security doesn't sleep. For that matter, the government needs to assume that insiders don't sleep either," said Bar-Yosef.

The memo fails to recommend and force readers to consider is automation, he said, which is the only way to monitor systems round the clock.

"Automated scanning and monitoring should help identify not only excessive downloads, but also access to data and documents that simply aren't supposed to be seen," said Bar-Yosef.

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