The surprising costs of insider threats, "We have met the enemy, and it is us!"

Commander Perry once famously said, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours”  after defeating and capturing Royal Navy ships in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.  When it comes to Insider Threats, it is more appropriate to use Walt Kelly’s famous twist on that from the comic strip Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and it is us!”  The costs of insider threats are simply staggering if you take it in the aggregate.  In one of our recent iThreat webinars, Michael Gips and Louis Mizell estimated the cost ranged from somewhere between 1.3 and 5.7 Trillion dollars per year.  That is Trillion with a “T,” and that adds nine zeros.  That is simply immense!  Below is a quick list of some of their categories:

  • Occupational Fraud: $950B (U.S.), $1.4T (World)
  • Insider Cyberattacks: $140B to $3.3T
  • Corporate Espionage/IP Theft: $150B to $350B (U.S.)
  • Workplace Violence: $120B (U.S.)
  • Employee Theft: $50B (North America)
  • Sexual Harassment: $4B to $263B (U.S.)

Gips and Mizell are both long time security professionals and researchers.  Gips was the Chief Global Knowledge Officer for ASIS, and Mizell had a long career in the military as well as being an agent in the Diplomatic Security Service to draw on (that he could tell us about :-)).  These researchers have compiled a database of over 4 million crime, terrorism, and security incidents, of which over 11,000 related to Insider Threats.

It was a fascinating hour, filled with many case studies and examples.  If you’re interested, you can view the recorded webinar here.

Picture of Lou Mizell and Mike Gips
The Surprising Scope and Toll of the Insider Threat, with Mike Gips and Lou Mizell
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