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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.

Accident Prone Annie Unintentionally Helps Hacker

Posted December 13, 2011    Peter McCalister

Marriott International Corporation became the latest victim to an interesting twist on an insider attack. According to Dark Reading, a prospective employee named Attila Nemeth, “pilfered sensitive documents from the hotel chain and then attempted to use the stolen intelligence to blackmail it for employment.”

Who would think that blackmailing a potential employer would lead to being hired? The good news is that Nemeth’s attempt clearly showed Marriott that he would not be good fit for a position at their company – especially in the IT department.

This story also highlights, yet again, the antics of Accident Prone Annie. Annie is your typical business user who may be misusing their privileges to do things that are against corporate policy (i.e. downloading software off the web or upgrading applications before IT approves) and wreaking havoc on the help desk. Nemeth was able to access the network by tricking a Marriot employee into opening an infected document or link that installed a backdoor on Marriott’s systems.

Accidental misuse of privilege is commonplace throughout many organizations. Why? Because human nature dictates that we will make mistakes and if your employees are over privileged on their IT resources then that can lead to costly mistakes. This is why we are constantly pushing to implement least privilege solutions: because good people can do bad things intentionally, accidentally and indirectly.

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Additional articles

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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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Privileged Passwords: The Bane of Security Professionals Everywhere

Posted February 19, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Passwords have been with us since ancient times. Known as “watchwords”, ancient Roman military guards would pass a wooden tablet with a daily secret word engraved from one shift to the next, with each guard position marking the tablet to indicate it had been received. The military has been using passwords, counter-passwords, and even sound…

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Privileged Account Management Process

In Vulnerability Management, Process is King

Posted February 18, 2015    Morey Haber

You have a vulnerability scanner, but where’s your process? Most organizations are rightly concerned about possible vulnerabilities in their systems, applications, networked devices, and other digital assets and infrastructure components. Identifying vulnerabilities is indeed important, and most security professionals have some kind of scanning solution in place. But what is most essential to understand is…

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