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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.

Add an Identity Management Stitch to Your Enterprise and Save Nine

Posted February 9, 2011    Peter McCalister

I have a friend who, at any given moment, can recount any of the old wives tales he grew up hearing. Most of them I just roll my eyes at, but every now and then there’s a little gem that makes life a little easier. Take “a stitch in time saves nine.” That’s legitimate advice. The concept of taking certain actions before a large-scale problem evolves transcends all aspects of the human existence, and even spreads to the security of your enterprise. One particularly useful stitch comes in the form of preventing the misuse of privileges within the walls of your company.

We are all human. Unfortunately, this means that we are all susceptible to making mistakes and causing problems. In our enterprises, if those mistakes include information only accessible with privileged administrator rights, those problems become increasingly complicated and expensive. What happens when your IT manager, who is basically the omniscient god of your enterprise because he has root access, accidentally sends sensitive data to an outside source? Or what if a regular user, who is running as a super, disables security settings that make the network vulnerable to malware attacks? These things have happened and can happen to you. People are the weakest link, as Edward Hurley of SearchSecurity points out. The security of an enterprise is only a strong as the people behind the technology. Why then would intelligent and successful heads of companies allow their human users to run free with advanced admin rights, knowing full well their finite human shortcomings? Your guess is as good as mine.

There are countless examples of employees inviting breaches, whether accidentally or not, into their organizations. The scope of the damage is huge: from the stolen Goldman Sachs code to McDonald’s compromised customer data to Honda’s email database breach, it’s baffling that some enterprises aren’t protected against such issues. While I don’t have the answer to this oversight in security, I do have a solution. Add a stitch to your enterprise and prevent nine later- implement a policy that removes unnecessary administrator rights and disables the accidental misuse of privileges. Put in place aleast privilege management system.

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Additional articles

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Webinar March 4th: Recreating the Carbanak Breach & Techniques for Mitigating Similar Attacks

Posted March 3, 2015    Lindsay Marsh

Join BeyondTrust Research and Development team for an in-depth live webinar that will explore the attack vectors used in the Carbanak Bank Breach and share successful mitigation techniques needed to prevent this type of attack.

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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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