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The Insider Threat: from Silicon Valley to the Czech Republic

Every few days we see another example of the insider threat at work.

Sometimes, it’s still shocking to see how widespread this issue is! Stories cross our desks from all over the world and from all kinds of industries.

Take this one, for example: a telecom employee in India has been accused of stealing confidential company data. Or this news of agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto suing a former employee over allegedly stolen files.

Or, here’s one that really struck us: this recent tidbit from T-Mobile Czech. An employee stole a million and a half customer records — that’s a major breach!

The employee, who was a customer service staffer, allegedly tried to sell the records. It’s unclear right now whether anyone bought them, though T-Mobile Czech claims that the records are now “safe.”

Or take a look at this one, straight out of a thriving technology hub: a Silicon Valley employee has pleaded guilty to “intentionally damaging a protected computer” — meaning, sabotaging his employer’s machines and data.

Kenneth Kezeor worked as a system administrator at this company for roughly fifteen years, until he was terminated in 2012 as part of a reduction in force. After his termination, Kezeor used his high-level clearance to access and intentionally damage his ex-employer’s systems. He even used the account of another employee to sabotage their applications.

The result? Kezeor ended up seriously impeding the company by trashing its data and programs. Plus, it took months to catch him.


It’s a classic tale: bitter ex-employee uses their insider knowledge to wreck havoc on their employer in a vengeance-filled warpath. We’ve seen it over and over and over again. Revenge is among the most common motivations for insider threat actors, and has been linked to some of the most high-profile breaches of recent years.

What’s more, this can happen anywhere. Silicon Valley is one of the most technologically-advanced and security-aware hotspots in the world, but even cutting-edge companies aren’t immune to insider sabotage.

We’ve talked a lot about all of the different ways employees can steal data. We’ve yakked about malicious data thieves. We’ve blabbed about the unintentional employee threat. We’ve shared our favorite ridiculous insider stories. We’ve warned about the inherent dangers of super users, and the risks that come with low-paid call center employees.

You might be thinking, “Yeesh! These Dtex guys really hammer that insider threat thing home, don’t they? There’s no way it can be as big of a problem as they say it is.”

Well, no one would blame you. But unfortunately, we’ve seen it all — and it is a big problem across tons of industries, countries, company sizes, and employee types. Even the most technology advanced parts of the world, like Silicon Valley, aren’t immune.

Take these as yet another slew of cautionary tales, security professionals. Make sure you have the knowledge and the visibility to stop these kinds of attacks before they happen — and, just as importantly, the analytics to find out right away if it does.