HNWI The Inner Threat

High Net Worth (HNW) individuals/families – the insider threat from ‘your inner circle’

Wealthy families are more susceptible than others to fraud, cyberattacks, extortion, or even violent acts. The greatest threat comes from those nearest to us. This is especially true for families who employ individuals within the household and family office or use IT and security experts to maintain family networks, devices, and other communications infrastructure. During my time living with and working for a HNWI, I managed a team of staff. Unfortunately, there were several internal security incidents where staff took advantage of their position and access to the family and assets. Vetting staff and vigilance is key, especially when employees have full access to the private household.


These range from accidental/inadvertent to malicious/predatory, such as:
1. An employee takes photos of your home’s interior or expensive items and shares them with a friend who then circulates them widely
2. A member of the family posts on social media the family’s dates of travel for an overseas trip or that members of the family are shopping in a specific shop for expensive items
3. An overnight guest is allowed to use the family’s internet network, accesses an unsecured website, and downloads malware that compromises the family’s most private information

Managing the internal risk – actions to consider:

1.      Conduct regular background checks (vetting) on all employees and suppliers
2.      Monitor your employees’ social media activity
3.      To avoid suspicion, be up front and notify employees/suppliers of background checks
4.      Have employees sign confidentially agreements
5.      Elevate protective measures for vulnerable assets or events
6.      Ensure the home’s physical security is of a high standard
7.      Utilise a trusted security company to provide residential/physical security services
8.      Assess and upgrade your technical security systems
9.      Track and monitor your family’s online exposure – consider an online vulnerability assessment

Awareness is key to protection: Wealthy families have different risks than those faced by most people. But that shouldn’t take away from life’s enjoyment. With appropriate risk/threat assessments, mitigation and awareness, families can live comfortably knowing you are protected and have the right measures in place to counter any vulnerabilities

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