On Employee Data Theft


Last week Zynga, the social gaming company famous for Farmville and Cityville, filed a lawsuit against former employee Alan Patmore for making off with 763 documents—including business plans and other intellectual property—and  bringing them to competitor Kixeye.  Patmore doesn’t deny the claim.

It hasn’t been confirmed exactly how Zynga discovered that Patmore nabbed the documents, but I wonder if software, not a human, sounded the alarm.

Sadly, this kind of unethical behavior happens more frequently than you’d think.  According to Cyber-Ark’s 2012 global Trust, Security and Passwords Survey, slightly less than half of respondents admitted that if they were fired today, they would pocket proprietary data – even knowing it wasn’t allowed.

Other findings from the survey:

  • 45% said they have access to information that is not relevant to their role
  • 42% indicated they have used admin credentials to access information that was marked confidential
  • 55% believe competitors have obtained their company’s  intellectual property

The Zynga case underscores organizations’ need to ensure that only the right users have access to the right data at all times, access is monitored, and abuse is flagged.

For every person who is caught stealing intellectual property from an employer, how many fly under the radar?  Insider threats are something organizations need to take seriously.

Want to find out if suspicious behavior is occurring in your environment?  We’ll show you.

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