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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.

Another Reminder Why It’s Important to Eliminate Admin Rights

Posted September 27, 2011    Peter McCalister

According to a recent CNET News article, the hacker known as Comodohacker is now threatening to exploit Microsoft’s Windows Update service. This comes on the heels of Microsoft’s misstep of inadvertently offering an early look at the latest Patch Tuesday updates for 15 vulnerabilities in Windows, Office and Server products.

“I’m able to issue Windows update–Microsoft’s statement about Windows Update and that I can’t issue such update is totally false. I already reversed ENTIRE Windows update protocol, how it reads XMLs via SSL which includes URL, KB no, SHA-1 hash of file for each update, how it verifies that downloaded file is signed using WinVerifyTrust API, and…Simply I can issue updates via Windows update!” – Comodohacker.

In 2010, Microsoft published more than 100 security bulletins and provided patches for 256 vulnerabilities and the vast majority of security threats from Microsoft vulnerabilities can be mitigated if users do not have unnecessary admin rights.

While Comodohacker’s claims have not been substantiated at this point, according to Microsoft, only Windows updates that are signed by the Microsoft Root Certificate Authority are allowed to be installed via the Windows update process. Regardless of this threat, this is a stark reminder why it so very important that organizations eliminate admin rights for users.

When you allow your users to run as a local admin, you are opening your enterprise to serious security issues. You may think you’re saving money by allowing this instead of multiple calls to the help desk, but in reality you’re risking much more than money.

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Additional articles

How To Implement The Australian Signals Directorate’s Top 4 Strategies

Posted October 20, 2014    Morey Haber

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), also known as the Defence Signals Directorate, has developed a list of strategies to mitigate targeted cyber intrusions. The recommended strategies were developed through ASD’s extensive experience in operational cyber security, including responding to serious security intrusions and performing vulnerability assessments and penetration testing for Australian government agencies. These recommendations…

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asp-mvc

Exploiting MS14-059 because sometimes XSS is fun, sometimes…

Posted October 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This October, Microsoft has provided a security update for System.Web.Mvc.dll which addresses a ‘Security Feature Bypass’. The vulnerability itself is in ASP.NET MVC technology and given its wide adoption we thought we would take a closer look. Referring to the bulletin we can glean a few useful pieces of information: “A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists…

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4bestpracticesaudits-blog

Four Best Practices for Passing Privileged Account Audits

Posted October 16, 2014    Chris Burd

Like most IT organizations, your team may periodically face the “dreaded” task of being audited. Your process for delegating privileged access to desktops, servers, and infrastructure devices is a massive target for the auditor’s microscope. An audit’s findings can have significant implications on technology and business strategy, so it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared…

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