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Malicious insider psychology – when pressure builds up in the Fraud Triangle

Oliver Brdiczka | Nov. 25, 2014
What psychological and external factors make an insider turn against his employer?

Rationalization is the last leg of the Fraud Triangle. Most insiders that turn against their organization are first time offenders without any criminal record, and they do not perceive themselves as criminals. Rather, they see themselves caught in bad circumstances that they are trying to resolve.

Therefore, the insider needs to explain the act to himself in a way that makes it acceptable or even justified. Common explanations are "I just borrowed the money," "my family needs the money," or "my employer is dishonest and deserves to be cheated."   As a result, the actual crime becomes a legitimate act of self-defense or self-preservation and not a crime.

The factors of the Fraud Triangle prepare the ground for an insider to act maliciously on his own account. The pressure is the reason for the act, the opportunity provides a possible solution and the rationalization justifies the act.

While these are the foundation mechanisms for the malicious act to happen, there are various other psychological and personality factors at play when the insider prepares and executes actions against his own employer, including sensitization, the "morning after" stage and stress spirals. In the next couple of posts, we will do a deep dive into the dark sides of the insider's mind and look at how it evolves during and after an attack.

Source: Computerworld


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