An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : News
NEWS | Feb. 6, 2017

‘Insider threat’ causes adverse effect on mission

By Francisco R. Beatty Joint Base San Antonio Cybersecurity Office

What is the “insider threat”?

The United States has been betrayed by people holding positions of trust. “Insiders” have caused more damage than trained, foreign intelligence officers working on behalf of their governments.

Not every suspicious circumstance or behavior indicates a spy, but people to examine indicators to determine if the nation’s secrets are at risk. It is everyone’s responsibility to be aware and report when sensitive data is concerned.

Who is an “insider”?

The Defense Security Service, or DSS, defines an insider as one who “intentionally or unintentionally compromises or potentially compromises the Department of Defense’s ability to accomplish its mission. These acts include, but are not limited to, espionage, unauthorized disclosure of information and other activities resulting in the loss or degradation of departmental resources or capabilities.”

Why would an “insider” do this?

Insiders hold a position of trust. Many have a badge or pass with access to classified information. What would make someone you know and trust sell, release or destroy sensitive data?

  • Need or desire for money, such as hard times, poor financial management or greediness

  • Conflicting ideologies or disaffected political sympathies and mistrust in the “system”

  • Psychological factors such as exaggerated desire for adventure, ego, misplaced anger

What are some insider threat impacts?

An insider can negatively impact national security and industry resulting in:

  • Loss or compromise of classified, export-controlled, or proprietary information

  • Weapons systems cloned, destroyed, or countered

  • Loss of technological superiority

  • Economic loss

  • Loss of life

How can a person recognize an insider threat?

There are indicators, however, not every person who exhibits these indicators is involved with illicit behavior. People who were involved with espionage were found to have displayed one or more of these indicators. For example:

Information collection:

  • Keeping classified materials in unauthorized locations.

  • Attempting to access sensitive data without authorization or inconsistent with duty requirements.

Information transmittal:

  • Using unclassified media to transmit classified materials or removing classification markings

  • Discussing classified materials on a non-secure telephone

Additional suspicious and exploitable behaviors:

  • Attempting to conceal foreign travel

  • Repeated/Unrequired work outside of normal duty hours

  • Financial difficulties or sudden reversal of financial situation, such as a sudden repayment of large debts

How can I defend against the insider threat?

  • Observe and report.

  • Always be aware of the actions of those around you.

  • Watch for signs of exploitable behaviors or repeated security violations.

  • Report suspicious behaviors.

If you see possible “insider” activity, call the 502d Wing Cybersecurity Office, Cybersecurity Liaison or supervisor.

At JBSA-Randolph, call 652-4231 and at JBSA-Lackland, call 671-9881.