Trusted insiders are facing an increasing threat of foreign interference, as evidenced by a 70% rise in requests for protection against foreign influence since 2022 [1].


The tech sector [1], pharmaceutical industry, and critical infrastructure are prime targets for intellectual property (IP) theft. Hostile foreign states are behind a surge in malicious insider breaches [2], resulting in IP theft and industrial espionage [2]. Techniques for IP theft vary depending on customer controls [2], with suspects exhibiting unusual reconnaissance behavior and testing security measures using innocuous data [2]. Highly skilled insiders are leveraging their technical expertise to evade detection, with only 12% actively circumventing security controls [1]. The rise of socially engineered insiders and espionage through legitimate channels poses significant threats [1]. Investigations have shown that 64% of malicious IP theft incidents involve sophisticated data manipulation [2], often converting data into images or PDFs [2]. Organizations are turning to AI to manage risks, particularly focusing on employee monitoring [1]. Insider investigations are typically initiated by HR departments [1], as many departing employees take data with them. Effective insider risk management necessitates a trustworthy workforce and robust security practices [1], with proactive measures such as security awareness training and policy adjustments.


The prevalence of foreign interference targeting trusted insiders underscores the need for heightened vigilance and security measures. Organizations must prioritize insider risk management to safeguard against IP theft and industrial espionage. Future efforts should focus on enhancing security awareness, implementing robust policies, and fostering a culture of security within the workforce.