Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Robert F. Mills, PhD


The security threat from malicious insiders affects all organizations. Mitigating this problem is quite difficult due to the fact that (1) there is no definitive profile for malicious insiders, (2) organizations have placed trust in these individuals, and (3) insiders have a vast knowledge of their organization’s personnel, security policies, and information systems. The purpose of this research is to analyze to what extent the United States Air Force (USAF) security policies address the insider threat problem. The policies are reviewed in terms of how well they align with best practices published by the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Emergency Readiness Team and additional factors this research deems important, including motivations, organizational priorities, and social networks. Based on the findings of the policy review, this research offers actionable recommendations that the USAF could implement in order to better prevent, detect, and respond to malicious insider attacks. The most important course of action is to better utilize its workforce. All personnel should be trained on observable behaviors that can be precursors to malicious activity. Additionally, supervisors need to be empowered as the first line of defense, monitoring for stress, unmet expectations, and disgruntlement. In addition, this research proposes three new best practices regarding (1) screening for prior concerning behaviors, predispositions, and technical incidents, (2) issuing sanctions for inappropriate technical acts, and (3) requiring supervisors to take a proactive role.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number