Management Lessons From the Espionage of Ana Montes 2

Credit: FBI/CSO staff illustration

Credit: FBI/CSO staff illustration

By Anthony N. Bishop

The best IT security is not enough to protect against the determined insider

The recurring media coverage of cyber attacks on the U.S. public and private sectors have undoubtedly advanced the rapid growth of IT security industry solutions for predicting, preventing, and responding to cyber threats. Reliable IT systems and infrastructure are crucial to the successful management, stability, and growth of most American companies.

A major data compromise can be damaging to profits, prestige, and strategy, not to mention disastrous to a company’s competitive edge and downright embarrassing. Add the risk of a potential Snowden insider to the threat of a cyber attack, and American businesses can hardly be blamed for perceiving computer vulnerabilities to be the biggest risk to company security and in turn focusing their risk management efforts and spending on IT security.

As companies shop for expensive IT security software packages, hire information assurance specialists, or enter into contracts with IT security firms to provide up-to-date cyber threat intelligence, they should not overlook the threats posed to company data from traditional espionage tradecraft. Not even the most robust computer security measures or the latest behavioral analytic/machine learning algorithms can defeat the insider who does not rely on a computer or the exploitation of to steal company information. In this respect, the espionage case of Ana Montes provides important lessons for every business.

MORE ON CSO: How to avoid phishing attacks

In 1984, Montes worked as a paralegal at the Department of Justice while attending Johns Hopkins University as a part-time graduate student. At the university, Montes’ outspoken views against U.S. policy in Latin America caught the attention of a fellow student who happened to be an access agent for the Cuban Intelligence Service. Identifying potential Cuban interest in Montes for the country’s clandestine war with the United States, the agent arranged to introduce her to Cuban intelligence officers in New York City. At this meeting, Montes impressed the Cuban intelligence officers with her views against U.S. foreign policy and sympathy toward the Cuban cause. It was clear to the Cubans that they had found a comrade.

Feature continues here: Lessons Learned – Ana Montes

 

2 comments

  1. The inside threat can be eliminated if our companies contacted to handle security contracts hire applicants that are ideologycally strong. Our government should promote and train from within the organization rather that too hire applicants of duvious ideology. There are thousands of military members who are loyal to our nation and many times they are brushed aside for other applicants that have degrees but their ideology is questionable. The worse factor is to hire an applicant who his only interest is money. Why? Because the minute he is in debt and he is not ideologycally strong he will steal our secrets and will sell them for profit. If the employee is ideologically strong, and he is indebt he will work two jobs if nevessary until he see himself out of debt. Companies and agencies failed to analyze this factor. If an applicant openly express ideas that are ideologycally contrary to our national ideology, this applicant should not be considered for hiring.

  2. The minute Montes began a critic of our countries policies toward Cuba and latin America she should has been taken off the program she was into or at least to have kept her away from any relevant positions.

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