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Barracuda Breach and Privileged Users

Posted April 25, 2011    Peter McCalister

As technology continues to develop and expand, it’s an unfortunate reality that sensitive information is becoming decreasingly safe. While this isn’t new news (data breaches are becoming as common as a morning bowl of cheerios), for some reason companies aren’t heeding these devastating warning signs. At least Barracuda didn’t.

Here’s what happened: A hacker, dubbed “fdf,” posted screenshots of Barracuda employees, partners, and customer credentials that were obtained through an SQL injection of their Web page. Chris Wysopal, CTO at Veracode, offered more information about it, including that, “Barracuda employee password hashes were disclosed to the attackers. It is likely that many of these will be cracked swiftly and that some of these passwords give other access within Barracuda, perhaps through reuse.”

Let’s take a minute to think about how this happened, or how any security breach happens. The simple answer is that someone who should not have had access to sensitive information did. Honestly ask yourself these questions: if this happened in your organization, would you know who to question? Do you know everyone who has admin rights? Or whose passwords can grant access to high-level tasks? Do you have a way to monitor who is accessing what and when?

This breach highlights the importance of accountability. In each of our enterprises, we must know who operates with privileged user rights and how their actions can affect the security of sensitive information. Could you answer all of the above questions? Or are there holes in the security of your company? Addressing the internal misuse of privilege is no longer a nice-to-have: it’s a need-to-have. And if it’s not something that’s currently a priority in your enterprise, now is the time to make it one.

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