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An insider threat arises when a person authorized to access to U.S. Government resources, including personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, and systems, uses that access to harm the security of the United States. Malicious insiders can inflict incalculable damage. They enable the enemy to plant boots behind our lines and can compromise our nation’s most important endeavors.
Over the past century, the most damaging U.S. counterintelligence failures were perpetrated by a trusted insider with ulterior motives. In each case, the compromised individual exhibited the identifiable signs of a traitor – but the signs went unreported for years due to the unwillingness or inability of colleagues to accept the possibility of treason.
Insiders convicted of espionage have, on average, been active for a number of years before being caught. Today more information can be carried out the door on removable media in a matter of minutes than the sum total of what was given to our enemies in hard copy throughout U.S. history. Consequently, the damage caused by malicious insiders will likely continue to increase unless we have effective insider threat detection programs that can proactively identify and mitigate the threats before they fully mature.
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