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The Insider Threat - Responding to Behavioural Indicators in Critical National Infrastructure Organisations - 7 October 2020

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Chair: Dr Amanda Chisholm

Speaker: Alison Bell


The insider act occurs when authorised access provided to an individual by an organisation, usually during employment, is misused. Insider acts such as terrorism, espionage, sabotage, fraud, and theft of data can cause significant harm to an organisation’s reputation. Furthermore, in Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) organisations, there is potential for an insider to damage critical assets, which could result in widespread societal disruption, public harm, and interruption to vital services.

Existing literature suggests that behavioural indicators are often displayed and observed in the workplace prior to the insider act taking place. This represents an opportunity for early intervention; however, the reporting of such behaviours is rare. Using interview and focus group data from CNI organisations, this presentation provides high-level insight into the types of behaviours that may be evident. Influencing factors which might inhibit and facilitate reporting are discussed, using bystander intervention and social identity theories as a framework.



Prior to leaving industry in 2017 to focus on her PhD, Alison worked in the energy sector for 25 years; the latter ten years focusing on personnel security, insider threat, investigations and human behaviour in the workplace.

She is a Principal Member of the Register of Security Engineers and Specialists (RSES) and has been guest speaker on the topic of insider threat and personnel security; most recently CSARN (2019) and WINS (2019). Speaking engagements have also included the AGA/EEI Security and Resilience Committee Meeting (Houston, 2017), UK Security Expo (London, 2017) and the Behavioural and Social Sciences in Security Conference (Lancaster, 2018).

In 2011, Alison obtained an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Psychology.  Her dissertation on the insider threat was used by UK government as a basis for further research and product development. Her ongoing PhD at King’s College London further progresses her studies in this area.


Alison Bell

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Event details

7 October 2020

Online event