Insider Threat Indicators: Why Employees Steal Data

Most companies trust that their employees have good intentions. Provided that workers are compensated fairly, feel respected by colleagues and find fulfillment in their job duties, this is usually true. However, there are several reasons why a dependable employee might turn into an insider threat.

How do you catch a malicious employee in their tracks? You look for warning signs.


The FBI has put together a list of reasons why someone might be an insider threat to the United States. This list can easily be adapted to understanding scenarios in which a formerly good employee might go rogue under your IT department’s watch.

Reasons why employees might shift into insider threats:

Financial Need: Excessive debt can lead to desperate actions. If an employee in financial need feels he or she can gain from exploiting your company’s data by selling it to a competitor, your confidential data may end up in the wrong hands.

Revenge: A disgruntled employee may seek revenge by maliciously stealing, sharing or otherwise compromising sensitive data in an act of anger.

Interpersonal Issues: Dissatisfaction in the workplace due to interpersonal issues such as disagreements with coworkers or management may lead to malicious behavior.

Ideology: An employee who is approached by an outsider (or fellow insider) may be persuaded to share confidential information for an ideological cause.

Divided Loyalty: An employee may have loyalty to another person or organization that comes into conflict with his or her loyalty to your company. For instance, if a friend of the employee is laid off from the company, he or she may be persuaded to engage in malicious activity to compromise your confidential information.

Seeking a Thrill: Some employees may feel unfulfilled in their career and/or personal life and may seek the thrill of performing malicious actions, such as working with competitors to steal data.

Ego: An employee with Privileged Access may be persuaded to act in a certain way against the company with the promise of a better job or some other reward that boosts their self-esteem.

Choosing to Monitor Employee Computers

One easy way to monitor employee actions and protect against insider threats is to use computer monitoring software like Employee Monitoring.

With Employee Monitoring you’re able to:
  • Actively monitor every device on your network for suspicious behavior
  • Set custom alerts for potentially harmful activity (such as the download of confidential files)
  • Instantly know when employees are using SSN or credit card numbers
  • Review HD video recordings of every action an employee takes on their computer

Knowing the warning signs that an employee may be turning into an insider threat is important, but even more important is having a plan to stop them before they cause harm to your company.

Employee Monitoring helps you do that. Learn more today.


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