Scottish companies are being warned that crimes committed by their own staff are fast becoming Scotland's fastest growing – and most damaging – criminal activity.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), which is to host Scotland's first conference to tackle the problem of 'Insider Threat', fear fraud crimes will exceed £3billion this year, with a staggering 85% of fraud commited by dishonest staff.
It is now calling for all Scottish businesses to step up their efforts to reduce the potentially crippling impact of employees stealing the company 'Crown Jewels' – as much as five per cent of annual revenues can be lost to staff fraud.
While high profile cases such as the 'Sony hack' – where personal employees data, e mails exchanges and scripts were leaked – have highlighted the damage that massive companies face, the SBRC is warning that small businesses are just a likely to be targeted and can face greater losses.
Deputy Director of the SBRC, Brian Gibson said: "The vast majority of people working in Scotland are professional, well motivated and honest.
"But the staggering figures highlight growing evidence that companies are facing a continued threat from employees, both past and present, who seek to gain personally from their position of trust within a business.
"This is not the work of hi-tech hackers, a 'cuckoo in the nest' can easily pinpoint exactly where to source important material or assets.
"The financial figures don't tell the whole story – businesses who suffer an insider attack often find it is the damage to their reputation and future business that is the most crippling result of fraud.
"It's in everyone's best interest that we stop being complacent and work together to stop these crimes. That's why we believe it is important for businesses and organisations to attend our Insider Threat conference."
Studies show that 88% of insider acts were carried out by permanent staff, although sub-contractors and suppliers also play a key role – with financial gain the biggest single motivation. Insider crimes include selling and disclosing sensitive company data, sabotaging equipment and processes, and allowing illegal third party access.
The Insider Threat conference aims to equip the private, public and voluntary sectors with practical advice to prepare them for this newest form of security attack.
Industry experts from Homeland Security, Police Scotland, Napier University as well as specialist security businesses will provide keynote speeches, guidance and workshops.
The conference will also see SBRC launch a package of specialist training materials to help firms to crack down on insider crime attacks by safeguarding their finances, systems and reputation.
The series of modules include how to better manage internal processes in the event of redundancy or staff departures, covering simple advice such as ensuring passwords are constantly changed and denying external entry to files and documents. The other modules include themes such as recruitment, social networking, identifying vulnerable staff, whistle-blowing, counterfeiting and organised crime.
The Insider Threat programme has been designed to be affordable and accessible to all businesses, regardless of size. Firms can select only specific modules relevant to them, while there is an option to complete the full module package and receive full accreditation.
Brian added: "Our Insider Threat modules have been devised to help companies – big or small – to identify vulnerable or weak areas that may be susceptible to insider acts.
"We want businesses to understand there is something that they can do to help stop this – we're not just looking to raise awareness.
"The recent cases at Sony – and perhaps more relevantly – the leaking of classified information between Formula 1 teams, serve to highlight that nobody is safe from the insider threat."
The Insider Threat initiative is one of the areas being addressed through the Serious Organised Taskforce for Scotland.
The Insider Threat conference is taking place at the RBS Conference Centre in Gogarburn, Edinburgh, on February 12. For more information or to book a place contact SBRC on 01786 447441 or visit http://www.sbcc.org.uk/.