How Can Secure Bots Protect Against Insider Attacks?

Written by Gautam Roy in Software robots in the workplace on April 10, 2019

Do your employees recognize a security risk when they see it? Most companies attempt to educate employees on cybersecurity awareness. However, each day brings new challenges due to the human element of falling prey to a phishing scams or manual errors. Thankfully, there is a non-human ally who can keep your cybersecurity network secure. Software robots (bots), who don’t require sleep or a lunch breaks, can now be deployed to be on duty night-and-day guarding against vulnerabilities while humans attend to more meaningful work.

We are living in a world of security breaches

We have all heard the news of “Undisclosed number of financial accounts breached,” or “Software maker hacked,” or “Large payout in data breach settlement.” The list of headlines is endless. It’s important to note: majority of data breaches within enterprises are taking place within the internal networks. The drivers can mostly be attributed to a human element and the results are devastating. According to a recent Ponemon institute study, the cost and occurrence of malicious internal attacks are growing exponentially. How does an organization mitigate against human based errors, safeguard your network, and save costs in the process?

The problem: Protecting today’s data filled environments

In today’s inter-connected world, most companies are running applications within divisions that process a vast amounts of data in the Finance, Legal, Procurement, and HR departments. Many processes like quote-to-cash, procure-to-pay, claims processing, payroll automation, and insurance claims have workflows involving humans that process lots of confidential infromation. These systems interface with multiple front-end and back-end systems like CRM and ERP. Every transaction requires proper credentials to log into the system and access data, process data, and then update information.

Understanding the biggest risk to your business

Each industry faces a variety of threats. By understanding the biggest threat to your industry, you’ll be able to make better use of your cybersecurity budget and mitigate the risks. For example, abuse of privileged access, credentials, and stolen passwords open your organization up to massive data breaches. To complicate matters further human action is required to interact with the disparate systems. This provides a big front for malicious users to gain access to privileged data and misuse the information. Cyber threats are constantly developing new tactics to access your systems and data. What’s clear is too many organizations make their job easy.

A recent study by Preempt on leaked LinkedIn passwords showed that default password usage, or a very simple password that can easily be cracked. People can make mistakes. This is particularly alarming as with safeguards, there are many employees with poor password hygiene.

Another challenge is the unintentional human error element that plays a big role in causing data errors. For example, a large multinational home mortgage funding company had to restate its unrealized gains by $1.2 billion due to “honest mistakes” made in a spreadsheet used in the implementation of a new accounting standard. There are many more instances of human error, and these do not get reported publicly.

Making bots as your first line of defense

One way of increasing security is to leverage Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to augment human tasks that are repetitive. RPA can be tremendously valuable in reducing the risks associated with human errors and malicious intentions.

Automation bots can be built to access various systems with verified credentials. This reduces the number of users along with password credentials that need to be managed and monitored. Securing authentication for the bots can be managed by using active directory such as LDAP, Kerberos, and local authentication using the embedded Credential Vault.

Augmenting security with software bots we can:

  • Eliminate unauthorized access and reduce theft of PII data
  • Reduce tampering of data and results by humans
  • Track and log all bot activity–in a secure log to ensure that log data is not tampered with
  • Ensure compliance with logging bot activity tasks.

Bots can assist humans prevent security incidents

Every human worker needs to play their part in managing risks. Thankfully, RPA bots can also be used in assisting humans for important activities that are repetitive. The new sophisticated bots with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities can now be deployed for enhancing your security measures. Intelligent software bots can now be used to perform tasks similar to humans with no motivation for misusing the data, nor monetary benefit. Another advantage of using cognitive bots is to eliminate the mistakes caused by human error. You can now significantly reduce the risks of data breaches from within your network in a very simple way by deploying bots.