Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Malicious insider psychology – when the personal bubble bursts

Oliver Brdiczka | Nov. 25, 2014
What mental stages does a 'turning' insider go through? And what are potential indicators for each stage?

Honeymoon and cold shower
Once the decision is made, the malicious insider enters the honeymoon phase. He feels relief by finally "paying back," and potentially resolving financial pressures, family problems or similar. Everything makes perfect sense now within his personal bubble.

However, once the pressure is relieved, reality kicks in.

The personal bubble was created and decisions were made while the insider felt intense inner pressure. Once these pressures have been relieved, the reasoning that made complete sense earlier is suddenly hard to follow, and the insider is left with a shocking cold-shower sense of "What was I thinking?!"

As Charney describes it, the insider is now faced with two failures. First, he was not able to deal with his own life, which created enormous inner pressures. Second, he now finds himself stuck in a role of thief or traitor that he cannot resolve without losing his life's achievements and facing punishment.

As far as his spying takes him
There is no way back for the malicious insider. As the decision to steal confidential information or spy on his organization is highly unacceptable and punishable by law, the insider, feeling remorse or not, has no way back to the old reality of a completely normal life. He will actively steal and spy for some time -- concealing his actions -- and he may enter into what is called a 'dormancy stage' where he is not active. Stages of dormancy and activity can alternate over a period of months to several years.

Most insiders who become malicious ultimately face remorse and fear, and the constant uncertainty of potentially being caught. So their ultimate arrest may be associated with high stress levels, but might also be a relief from this uncertainty. For some, the public revelation of their actions might constitute a demonstration of their technical abilities and sophistication. For others it's another shameful point of failure in their life.

The final stage of punishment, which in most cases involves imprisonment, is often the first time for them to reflect on their own actions. Previously torn between comparison to others, life pressures, and opportunities, isolation (physical, social, or both) will eliminate these distractions and provide a more realistic view into his own life, poor choices and consequences.

Source: Computerworld


Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.