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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

A New Twist on Secure Computing

Posted May 28, 2014    Morey Haber

Secure Computing is one of those overused terms that gracefully died on the vine. During a recent customer meeting, we discussed a new context for Secure Computing that’s worth sharing with our blog readers. Here it is in a nutshell:

Consider Secure computing in the context of PowerBroker for Windows Risk Compliance. If you’re not familiar with the patent-pending technology, it essentially evaluates an application at runtime to decide what privileges the application should have based on a vulnerabilities, age, risk, and even regulatory relevance. This could include blocking a vulnerable application if it represents too much of a risk to the business. While this extreme action could disrupt operations, in some cases it may be exactly what is needed to prevent an application’s exploitation.

Effective Secure Computing falls between the extremes of providing root access and denying access altogether. To our customer, it means alerting the end user and the help desk that a launched application is in violation of an acceptable patch remediation cycle – and instructing the end user to contact the help desk to get the system mitigated. This places Secure Computing in the hands of all stakeholders by alerting them to risk and facilitating procedures to assist in remediation.

For example, launching a vulnerable version of Adobe Acrobat that is older than 90 days could display a message like this:

PBW-Authorization

It does not stop the execution, but alerts them much like an antivirus solution and, more importantly, helps track when processes fail for patch management. All the user needs to do is click “OK” to continue.

This approach enables Secure Computing by proactively alerting the end user, the help desk, and the operations team to applications being executed out of compliance. In addition, it allows for application-based vulnerability assessment and can meet continuous vulnerability assessment requirements as users execute applications.

Two additional practices that organizations are striving for (with little success) are using passive scanning technology and deploying complex multi-vendor integrations. These allow for application-based vulnerabilities to be detected as they are communicating across the network. However, they don’t assist with local applications or applications that transmit encrypted communications. PowerBroker for Windows makes this simple. For instance, here’s a PowerBroker rule for PCI compliance concerning critical vulnerabilities over 90 days old (without the need for span ports):

RCS-Cricklewood

Secure Computing does not have to be the responsibility of the security or operations teams alone. PowerBroker for Windows takes a proactive approach and empowers the end user to notify teams when their applications are not meeting standards.

> Blog: Greylisting Applications with PowerBroker for Windows Risk Compliance
> Blog: Introducing Vulnerability-Based Application Management
> Learn more about PowerBroker for Windows

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Additional articles

6

A Quick Look at MS14-068

Posted November 20, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

Microsoft recently released an out of band patch for Kerberos.  Taking a look at the Microsoft security bulletin, it seems like there is some kind of issue with Kerberos signatures related to tickets. Further information is available in the Microsoft SRD Blogpost So it looks like there is an issue with PAC signatures.  But what…

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Password Game Show

Managing Shared Accounts for Privileged Users: 5 Best Practices for Achieving Control and Accountability

Posted November 20, 2014    Scott Lang

How do organizations ensure accountability of shared privileged accounts to meet compliance and security requirements without impacting administrator productivity? Consider these five best practices…

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Triggering MS14-066

Triggering MS14-066

Posted November 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

Microsoft addressed CVE-2014-6321 this Patch Tuesday, which has been hyped as the next Heartbleed.  This vulnerability (actually at least 2 vulnerabilities) promises remote code execution in applications that use the SChannel Security Service Provider, such as Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). The details have been scarce.  Lets fix that. Looking at the bindiff of schannel.dll, we see a…

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