(If you haven’t seen them by now, I don’t know what to do with you.)
We all know that politicians are evil, manipulative, scum bags. Well, most of them are, but Palpatine takes it to a whole new level with his machinations. Palpatine is what we would call an ‘insider threat.’ What exactly is an ‘insider threat?’ Well, it is a threat that comes from a person or multiple people within an organization, someone who has inside information. The organization in this instance is the Galactic Republic.
We initially see Palpatine in his role as the representative of the planet Naboo in the Galactic Senate. Naboo is under a blockade by the Trade Federation protesting the Senate’s taxation of the trade routes. Little does the Galactic Republic, Jedi Order, or the Queen of Naboo know that it was Palpatine himself pulling the strings behind the Trade Federation’s blockade.
When Queen Amidala finally escapes the blockade and makes to the Galactic Senate, she is manipulated into declaring a vote of no confidence in the current Supreme Chancellor Valorum. This causes the need for a new leader of the Senate and guess who gets nominated and elected? Yep, good ol’ Palpatine.
Palpatine knows how the system works. He knows how to play the senators off one another and how to manipulate people into giving him what he wants; more power.
10 years later and Palpatine is still Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, even though his term should have expired by now. Once again unknown to all, Palpatine is behind the Separatist movement with Count Dooku and the creation of their droid army. Thus, he forces the Senate to give him emergency powers to raise the recently discovered clone army against the Separatists. This is the beginning of the Clone Wars.
Once again Palpatine has used his knowledge of how the political system works to grant himself more power.
Palpatine has almost absolute power at this point, and the Jedi have started to take notice. (A little slow on the uptake, eh?) Palpatine, who has been watching Anakin Skywalker progress as a Jedi, appoints the young Jedi as his personal representative on the Jedi Council. The Council of course does not approve because only Jedi Master sit on the Council and Anakin is just a Jedi Knight. Instead the Council orders Anakin to spy on Palpatine. Anakin reports to the Council that Palpatine is in fact a Sith that has been manipulating everyone. But, when the final blow is about to destroy Palpatine, Anakin switches sides and helps Palpatine destroy the rest of the Jedi.
Palpatine has successfully annihilated the last of his biggest foes, the Jedi. With his unchecked power and an army of obedient clones, he declares himself Emperor and the Galactic Republic is no more.
It took decades but Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) destroyed the entire political system. He used his insider knowledge to play parties off of each other to keep himself in positions of power and authority.
Detecting Insider Threats
So, how could the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Council handled this insider? Honestly, I don’t know. Palpation’s plans was so well crafted and drawn out I am not sure anyone would know how to detect that threat. But, I can tell you how to help prevent insider threats in your own company.
1. Train your employees. Any employee can be an insider threat if they are not trained to follow proper procedures. Your employees could potentially leak information without knowing that they are actively harming the company. Ignorance is no excuse, but assuming an employee knows something is equally bad.
2. Notice odd behavior. Is someone trying to get access to an area (digital or physical) they are not authorized to be in? Do they want to work odd hours when there will be less potential to be spotted doing something against policy? I am not telling you to go on a witch hunt. Notice odd behaviors, ask questions and report it.
3. Don’t be lax on security. Re-enforce training often and be sure that all employees are following established security procedures. Never allow shortcuts. If an employee leaves or you are forced to terminate an employee, have a procedure to make sure they no longer have access to any company property.
Detecting insider threats should be key aspect of your security awareness program.
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