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

And The Data Breaches Just Keep On Coming…

Posted February 7, 2012    Peter McCalister

Recently two new data breaches were announced, one the result of an accidental misuse of privilege and the other the result of negligence by a third party vendor.

First, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it accidentally handed over the data of living veterans when complying with a Freedom of Information request from Ancestry.com. The request was for data from a database of deceased veterans; however the VA said that data of 2,257 living veterans had also been identified in the database, and that the number could potentially grow to more than 4,000. The data included names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and military assignments. I know accidents happen. And I’m sure the culprit is very sorry, but I guarantee the victims are even sorrier. Human nature dictates that we will make mistakes and this is just another example of an over-privileged employee making a costly mistake.

Let’s move on to the breach caused by third party vendor negligence. The New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas and Electric have announced that a consulting firm hired by the utilities allowed unauthorized access to customer accounts. It has been reported that the breached information included Social Security numbers, dates of birth and the bank account numbers of some of the utilities’ customers. We have to remember to treat third party vendors with as much precaution as direct employees.

Thirty-nine percent of all data breaches involve third-party outsourcers – this according to data pulled from a recent Ponemon Institute study. While it is important to provide the information and access necessary for third-party resources to do their jobs, at the same time it’s irresponsible to allow vendors free reign over sensitive data or network assets. An all or nothing approach to granting users access doesn’t work here. Effective privilege identity management coupled with comprehensive knowledge of your partners’ and vendors’ security policies and practices is the best way to safeguard your company’s most valued assets.

Someday everyone will have a least privilege solution in place and we can stop reading about these types of insider threats.

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Additional articles

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Don’t Create a Different sudoers File for Each System

Posted May 20, 2015    Randy Franklin Smith

What if you have multiple Linux and/or Unix systems? Sudo management can become onerous and unwieldy if you try to manage a different sudoers file on each system. The good news is that sudo supports multiple systems.

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What Does Microsoft Local Administrator Password Solution Really Do?

Posted May 19, 2015    Morey Haber

LAPS is a feature that allows the randomization of local administrator accounts across the domain. Although it would seem that this capability overlaps with features in BeyondTrust’s PowerBroker Password Safe (PBPS), the reality is it is more suited for simple use cases such as changing the local Windows admin account and not much more.

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On Demand Webinar: Securing Windows Server with Security Compliance Manager

Posted May 14, 2015    BeyondTrust Software

On Demand Webinar: Security Expert Russell Smith, explains how to use Microsoft’s free Security Compliance Manager (SCM) tool to create and deploy your own security baselines, including user and computer authentication settings.

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