What is an insider threat and how do I identify one?

By Natalie SimmelJuly 1, 2022

Editor's Note: This article was originally published August, 2019.


GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — An insider threat is a malicious threat to an organization that comes from a person or people within the organization.

Insider threats can include employees, former employees, contractors or business associates.

Insider threats typically have inside information concerning the organization’s security practices and data and computer systems.


  • Encouraging disruptive behavior or disobedience to lawful orders.

  • Expressing hatred or intolerance of American society or culture.

  • Expressing sympathy for organizations that promote violence.

  • Expressing extreme anxiety about or refusing a deployment.

  • Associating with or expressing loyalty or support for terrorists.

  • Browsing websites that promote or advocate violence against the U.S, or distributing terrorist literature or propaganda via the Internet.

  • Expressing extreme outrage against U.S. Military operations.

  • Advocating violence to achieve political / religious / ideological goals.

  • Providing financial or other materiel support to a terrorist organization.

  • Seeking spiritual sanctioning for or a voicing an obligation to engage in violence in support of a radical or extremist organization or cause.

  • Membership in a violent, extremist or terrorist group, or adopting an ideology that advocates violence, extremism, or radicalism.

  • Purchasing bomb making materials or obtaining information on bomb construction and use.

  • Engaging in paramilitary training with radical or extremist organizations, either home or abroad.

  • Having ties to known or suspected international terrorists, extremists, radicals, or their supporters.

  • An employee released from or not selected for employment, promotion, or bonus; who exhibits severe signs of PTSD, and who appears disgruntled and violent.

In isolation, these activities or behaviors may not be indicators of potential violence or terrorist activity, but may indicate that the individual is at risk of becoming an Insider Threat. These activities or behaviors should be reported immediately.

The two easiest ways to report suspicious activity or behavior:

  1. Use the Army’s iSalute suspicious activity report. Submit a report online at https://www.inscom.army.mil/isalute.
  2. Call the MPs. From Grafenwoehr and Vilseck, dial DSN 476-3398/3397, CIV 09662-83-3398/3397. From Hohenfels, dial DSN 466-2812/2713, CIV 09472-83-2812/2713. From Garmisch, dial DSN 440-3801/3827, CIV 08821-750-3801/3827.

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