The Psychology of the Insider

An insider is a person who has confidential company information. Leakage of such information can be very costly for the company. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to worry about the security of insider data in advance. And the weakest link here is the employees. 

In a conflictual or competitive situation, there is always Us and Them. Two sides. Two parties are involved in the organization of any conflict. They negotiate, they plan, they make decisions, they make projections. They strike their hands and begin to implement actions. Until the moment of “hitting hands,” Us and Them get along quite well. Understand each other. Ready to act decisively. But the strangest thing happens afterwards.

We and They are not just in the same boat, in the same company or firm. We and They are in the same boat in the middle of a raging business ocean, in which there is an ongoing war. A competition, a race, a technological siege. If you fail, they will sink you.

We and They do not want to be drowned. Becoming food for sharks is definitely not in their plans. And also on the shore We and They agree on how they will act in the sea, how they will work together to achieve the goal and the end result.

But then, when instead of words, it’s time to do something.… “Something goes wrong.” And one of the parties becomes an Insider.

What makes a person become a rat who gnaws a hole in the ship that he or she is sailing on? How do you identify such a person and prevent him or her from joining the company? Everything has a reason. These questions were discussed at a meeting at the Kyiv office of the European Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The meeting was held under the patronage of the Information Security Institute.


A traitor is a person who has changed his point of view and hasn’t told anyone about it. 

Betrayal can be accidental or malicious. From a security point of view, special attention should be paid to the malicious traitor, and at the meeting the speakers shared what kinds of activities such a person is prone to:

-sabotage (hidden or open);

-information trafficking (disclosure of information);

-use of diverse tactics.


At least 90% of malicious traitors get inside a company because they are allowed inside by the company’s human resources department and security service. In other words, they get in because the company has not implemented any measures that would catch them at this stage. We also estimate that at least 90% of malicious traitors have a motivation of obtaining profit by betraying the organization they join. They often hold beliefs such as the idea that betrayal is simply a form of effective anticipation.

According to our research, around 30% of all traitors betray their organization because of contingent life circumstances or forced choices. For example, they are blackmailed or are in a tight corner. An example of this category is the Soviet spy, Alexander Orlov.

The remaining 70% of traitors are more dangerous. This category of individuals are difficult for human resources managers to identify. They can only be identified by experts and a competent security service.

Speakers at the meeting shared the tools they have identified that allow an organization to identify a potential traitor and, accordingly, to prevent him or her from entering the company.



Форма для связи