classic | mobile
Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook  Share via Twitter  Share via LinkedIn
 

Search...
Hi-Tech Security Solutions Business Directory


The enemy within
March 2011, Access Control, Identity Management

Whether it is people making unauthorised payments or fraudulently changing identity data, insider crime is on the increase and the use of passwords is helping it grow.

James Redelinghuys of SuperVision Biometric Systems speaks of real cases where employees used fake password credentials to make several payments to bogus companies. “In a particular case, the person was making regular payments that fell just beneath the limit of his authorisation. And, incredibly, it had been happening for several years amounting to millions off the bottom line,” says Redelinghuys.

In a similar vein, it was reported in March this year that three officials in the marine and coastal management branch of the Department of Environmental Affairs had been suspended for alleged fraud. They were allegedly diverting into a private account donor funds from the Marine Fisheries Co-operation programme between Norway and SA.

The insider danger

The 2009 PwC Global Economic Crime Survey, www.pwc.com/za/gecs, shows that most workplace crime is now committed by insiders. Redelinghuys supports the provision of this type of information because he believes that organisations need to be far more proactive about controlling internal access to their IT systems: “External threats such as hacking receive a great deal more attention because they are not seen as the organisation damaging itself.

“We protect ourselves from the villains outside with firewalls and shields and are skilled at managing physical access. But we are nowhere nearly so diligent when it comes to controlling and monitoring what goes on inside our offices.”

However, it seems that the biggest threat is not external, it is increasingly coming from within. The IT-related crime happening inside organisations is the elephant in the room. Moreover, we ignore it at our peril – particularly during times of severe economic downturn and slow recovery.

Not without reason, the PwC survey is focused on economic crime in a downturn and more than three-quarters of SA respondents believe that threats are rising due to the current economic situation.

According to Louis Strydom, leader of PwC’s forensics practice in South Africa, “The global economic downturn has heightened the pressures and incentives to commit fraud. Economic crime is pervasive, persistent and pernicious. No organisation or industry is immune from the threat of fraud”.

Redelinghuys sees the insider threat via IT systems as taking three main forms:

Facing facts

The PwC survey found that 62% of economic crime against SA businesses was committed by employees. Worldwide, the insider figure was 53%. With results from 3037 companies in 55 countries, the survey shows that 60% of South African respondents had been affected in the last 12 months and 29% believe they will be hit in the future.

Ernst & Young’s 2009 Global Information Security Study surveyed some 1900 companies across 60 countries. The study reports that “it has long been generally accepted that authorised users and employees pose the greatest security threat to an organisation and that raising and maintaining the awareness level of those people is a crucial part of an effective information security strategy.’

More than 75% of the organisations expressed concern that disgruntled employees could sabotage their employers’ systems. Despite this potential data vandalism, only a quarter of organisations were taking steps to improve security around their physical and logical assets.

Yvette du Toit, senior manager of Risk Advisory Services at Ernst & Young South Africa, points out that while this country was spared the worst effects of the global recession, there is no doubt that the slowdown has cost jobs. “The premise of the likelihood of disgruntled ex-employees therefore holds; it is a risk which applies to companies in this country as much as it does to international organisations,” she says.

Passwords: the root of all evil?

Controlling system access and managing passwords is a big headache for IT departments. It is frustrating, time-consuming and costly. According to Secude, a secure sign-on provider for IT-giant SAP, studies show that we spend an average of seven minutes to search for or remember mislaid passwords. Gartner estimates that about a third of helpdesk calls are password-related and research firm, Forrester, reckons each of these helpdesk calls costs about $70.

Aside from the ongoing administrative problems and costs, we all know that passwords actively encourage us to simplify sign-ons. We write passwords on sticky-notes, share them, pop them into our phones and even keep them on spreadsheets. Driven by the need for speed and convenience, this happens every day in offices all over the world.

Passwords also leave the door wide open for insider crime and the increasing damage it is causing. The 2009 ‘Common Sense Guide to Prevention and Detection of Insider Threats’ provides a detailed assessment of insider crime based on 118 incidents. Produced under the auspices of the Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) at the US Department of Homeland Security, the study found that passwords were a commonly used tool: 85% of insiders used their own passwords to commit crimes for immediate financial gain – as opposed to acts of data vandalism or data theft for longer-term business advantage.

Redelinghuys suggests that the use of passwords by insiders can be divided into the following main categories:

IT-based insider crime is bad for the bottom line. Insiders steal data and sell it to others. They modify data to enrich themselves, their families and friends. They are often bribed by outsiders to modify data and frequently they vandalise or publish sensitive data because of a grudge against the organisation. Redelinghuys highlights some of the common dangers as follows:

* Fraudulent payments: to bogus suppliers, through payroll and by diverting bona fide EFTs.

* Modifying data such as credit records, licences, identity documents.

* Theft of customer data and pricing structures.

* Theft of strategic information: mergers; acquisitions; cutbacks; alliances; product development.

* Property theft via fraudulent invoices, delivery notes / addresses.

* Sabotage: data vandalism and the ensuing costs of IT downtime, recovery and restoration.

Building identity chains

To end IT-based fraud around ID documents, Home Affairs is introducing this sort of biometric-based security. Earlier this year, the department said that it was tackling internal corruption and that biometric sign-on is being implemented.

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that, “We want to identify who was involved at every step of the process – a definite paper trail, so if there is an allegation of corruption, then we can deal with it.”

With absolute certainty, biometric sign-on links the user to their transaction. It builds an identity chain that provides a powerful monitoring and audit trail, linking who did what, where and when. At the same time, it also creates a compelling deterrent to insiders.

Redelinghuys says that, “Biometrics in SA are tried, tested and proven – we have worked with them for over 10 years and fingerprint readers now manage physical workplace access for some 2 million SA employees on a daily basis. We see biometric sign-on as being the next big step forward within solutions that manage information security. Quite simply, biometrics makes passwords and all the damage they cause a thing of the past.”

Playing pass-the-password

* 85% of insiders used their own passwords to commit crimes for financial gain. Common Sense Guide to Preventing Insider Threats CERT: 2009. Carnegie Mellon University.

* One in three workers jot down their computer password, undermining their security. Nucleus Research and KnowledgeStorm.

* 61% of business managers share their passwords, compared to only 4% of IT managers. Ponemon Institute/ArcSight.

For more information contact SuperVision Biometric Systems, +27 (0)21 913 6075, www.supervision.co.za


  Share via Twitter   Share via LinkedIn      

Further reading:

  • Access control and surveillance gain ground
    August 2015, Axis Communications SA, ASSA ABLOY South Africa, ZKTeco, This Week's Editor's Pick, CCTV, Surveillance, Access Control, Identity Management, Healthcare (Industry)
    While the uptake of security systems in healthcare facilities has been slower than in the commercial and retail sectors, there is a growing awareness of the importance of securing employees, patients and visitors.
  • Management platforms in the spotlight
    August 2015, Milestone Systems, Pelco by Schneider Electric, CCTV, Surveillance, Access Control, Identity Management, Enterprise Solutions, Remote Monitoring
    Management platforms are advancing, incorporating intelligence and generally trying to differentiate themselves. As such, third-party integration is becoming standard and proprietary systems are becoming harder to find.
  • CathexisVision integrated with Gallagher
    August 2015, Cathexis Technologies, News, CCTV, Surveillance, Access Control, Identity Management
    CathexisVision Video Surveillance Management software is now fully integrated with the Gallagher Command Centre, providing complete fence monitoring and access control integration.
  • Suprema integrates with ACT
    August 2015, Suprema, News, Access Control, Identity Management
    Suprema biometrics introduced to enterprise-level security through Access Control Technology (ACT) integration.
  • Biometrics and medical fraud
    August 2015, Morpho South Africa, Healthcare (Industry), Access Control, Identity Management
    Biometrics can deliver the identity assurance the healthcare industry requires to combat fraud and improve service delivery.
  • Asset management in healthcare
    August 2015, Healthcare (Industry), Access Control, Identity Management, Enterprise Solutions
    Key control and guard tour systems offer proven solutions for asset management in healthcare facilities.
  • Access control can add value
    August 2015, Access Control, Identity Management
    Managing a large workforce is complicated. Managers and business owners need to keep track of what their employees are doing - where, when, and why? In an increasingly competitive global market, effective ...
  • Integrated security in prestigious area
    August 2015, Bosch Security Systems, System Integration, CCTV, Surveillance, Access Control, Fire & Safety, Identity Management, Enterprise Solutions, Case Studies
    Customised and networked security solution from Bosch for a new prestigious building complex in Mexico City.
  • Automated swing door operators
    August 2015, ASSA ABLOY South Africa, Access Control, Fire & Safety, Identity Management, Enterprise Solutions, Healthcare (Industry), Products
    ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems’ automated swing door operators are intelligent door operators delivering the convenience of automated swing door entrance solutions and combining high performance, energy efficiency, aesthetics, convenience and safety.
  • C·CURE 9000 integrates with facial biometrics
    August 2015, Tyco Security Products, Access Control, Identity Management, Products
    C·CURE 9000 integrates with Stone Lock Pro biometric facial recognition reader.
  • Taking time and attendance offsite
    August 2015, Powell Tronics, Access Control, Identity Management, Products
    ATOM Mobile offers the market a practical and accurate means of enrolling employees and capturing their clockings without having to be inside an office or building.
  • Bosch integration with Milestone
    August 2015, Milestone Systems, Access Control, Identity Management
    Milestone Systems’ open platform IP video management software (VMS) is integrated with Bosch Access Control and has been certified.

 
 
         
Contact:
Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory (HSBD)

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Other
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual
         
    Mobile | Classic

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.