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

Administrative Privileges are Behind Many, but not all Breaches

Posted January 18, 2011    Peter McCalister

Ok – so even we admit not EVERY security breach is related to administrative privileges. We saw how horrible the passwords were of Gawker users; we know hackers exist too and there is a remaining 10% of critical Microsoft vulnerabilities that can’t be mitigated by removing admin rights. A recent reporton Virgin Media’s email recycling, which would allow a new email recipient to “retrieve a forgotten password” of the email’s previous owner could not be prevented with any measure related to administrate privileges.

But lets take a look at the last week:

  • IBM’s DeveloperWorks site recently had this replacing certain pages after hackers leveraged a vulnerability to gain access. Since it requires admin access to upload new web pages, it’s reasonable to suggest they used a vulnerability to gain administrative privileges. Could IBM have prevented it? The hacker-posted website seems to indicate as much.
  • Vodafone just suffered a breach somehow related to password sharing. You may think this is a password issue, but since the breach involved hundreds of customer accounts, which passwords do you think could grant access to hundreds of accounts? Yup – you got it – an admin’s password. Few other people have access to entire databases.
  • This one is particularly interesting, because it highlights that “Printers and copiers are often overlooked as a potential source of a data security breach but they need to be handled just as carefully as a PC.” Some printers keep copies of everything ever printed and employees tinker with their printer settings almost as often as their desktops. How many help desk inquiries do you get regarding printers?

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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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