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NetClean Labs | 26/05/2017

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Child Sexual Abuse Crime – the real insider threat touching all pockets of today’s business

Child Sexual Abuse Crime – the real insider threat touching all pockets of today’s business

Often ‘insider threats’ are thought of as the typically unwitting evasion of security protocols by employees taking steps to improve productivity. This can be anything from storing private data using Dropbox or forwarding confidential details to a personal email account, without any thought for data security.

Yet, lurking on company networks and under the radar of our collective attention is a much more sinister ‘insider threat’. This comes in the form of employees who perform illicit activity like downloading, watching and distributing child sexual abuse (CSA) material online. Controversial as it seems, it’s happening and we must accept the fact that paedophiles are a part of our society. We live amongst those who have a sexual interest in young children and are actively spreading and viewing related material in our workplaces.

Moral issue or corporate risk?

While of course this is in large part a morality issue and a topic for the CSR agenda, there’s also a very real long-term risk factor involved. Especially when considering that this activity is happening at all levels of society today. In fact, a recent Intelligence and National Security Alliance Symposium reveals as much, with the director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Unit confessing his amazement at the vast volumes of CSA material that has found its way onto government devices and across agency networks.

Risk aplenty raises alarms

Worryingly, the warnings and dangers to businesses today don’t just come in the form of acknowledging that CSA can occur irrespective of the size and nature of the organisation involved. It’s been made clear that staff in positions of power at government agencies are committing illegal crimes that are opening up a whole host of new risk factors. If this activity was to be exposed by individuals with their own agendas, who is to say that blackmail and bribery could not occur as a result? After all, a  historical example has proven that an NSA contractor regularly paid for access to sexually explicit websites, all while in possession of top secret clearance. Who knows what could have happened if this was to be exploited for personal gain?

Add to that concern, the risk these perpetrators present in terms of other addictions they may be harbouring. It’s not out of the question to suggest that those who consume CSA material, could also possess other potentially harmful addictions that could infiltrate a business and put its success and well-being in jeopardy.

Due diligence versus damage control

Ultimately, businesses must wake up to the fact that it’s no longer just about showing you’ve done your part to tick the CSR box. It’s not as simple as demonstrating moral grounding on the exposure of CSA material. It’s about understanding the real business risk that these perpetrators impose. Today’s leaders must recognise that criminal activity not only questions integrity, but threatens business survival and increases the likelihood of other company-wide risks arising.

Championing preventative measures

The only benefit of hearing the shocking revelations that child sexual abuse is widely viewed online, and by well-respected government officials, is that businesses have no excuse but to act, and fast. Implementing tools to monitor and control the activity of potential perpetrators should no longer be a taboo subject that leaders feel is a mark of distrust to their employees. Nor should it be a problem that is confined to the IT or security departments. The technology exists to help organisations locate CSA images if they are downloaded through networks or accessed via computers. So there’s no reason that these shouldn’t be active across business environments to stamp out illegal activity that could lead to profound future implications. In fact, addressing this ongoing issue as a top priority on the management agenda is critical. To hear more about the solutions that can be used to support this battle please click here.