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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.

Can You Put a Yellow Sticky on Your Cloud?

Posted July 21, 2011    Peter McCalister

Brian Anderson and I have written several blog posts on user ID’s. Brian concluded that the average user seems to either have a relaxed sense of security, a love for Abbott and Costello-like humor, or are just lazy when it comes to identity-related security. Our new colleague Luke Dieker, who focuses on Identity Services, has blogged about the importance of yellow sticky notes to password management. He observes that it’s a challenge to change the habits of the many users who adorn their screens with Post-it notes listing various passwords, or for the more security conscious among them, sticking passwords under their keyboards.

My focus has been less on the people’s unusual behavior than the new technologies and models coming to help address the problem as we switch from physical to virtual and cloud infrastructure. For example the Burton Group sees a public identity infrastructure as central to a new emerging architecture where vendors compete in market for identities that provides high-quality identities at lower cost.

Now Active Directory has facilitated single sign-on for some time. While Burton doesn’t see these consumer repositories replacing Active Directory anytime soon, and I wouldn’t bet on this or any model until it has market traction, in a more diverse world of SAAS, public, private and hybrid clouds, companies need to anticipate the changes this new model will require in the identity management infrastructure, policies and controls. Managing user identities in the cloud, ensuring that users are given access to only what they should be allowed to and tracking events for security and compliance gets tricky in increasingly dispersed environments often deployed on infrastructure provided by third parties.

The good news is that existing tools can help bridge the gap. Secure authentication in the elastic cloud doesn’t have to be daunting. Another one of our new colleagues in identify services, Jonathan Flack, contributed an excellent writeup for InfoTECH Spotlight titled, “Secure Authentication in the Elastic Cloud.”

In that article he discusses how a number of our customers began extending public-facing server infrastructure to Amazon’s EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) with great success and extended an existing, on-premise Active Directory deployment to an Amazon EC2 deployment — enabling organizations to manage a variety of operating system environments including Linux running on EC2 leveraging existing AD infrastructure. Extending AD to the cloud is not the complete answer but it’s a pragmatic step in the right direction.

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Additional articles

PowerBroker for Unix & Linux helps prevent Shellshock

Posted September 25, 2014    Paul Harper

Like many other people who tinker with UNIX and Linux on a regular basis, BASH has always been my shell of choice.  Dating back to the early days moving from Windows to a non-Windows platform, mapping the keys correctly to allow easy navigation and control helped ensure an explosion of use for the shell. Unfortunately,…

Bash “Shellshock” Vulnerability – Retina Updates

Posted September 24, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

A major vulnerability was recently discovered within bash which allows arbitrary command execution via specially crafted environment variables. This is possible due to the fact that bash supports the assignment of shell functions to shell variables. When bash parses environment shell functions, it continues parsing even after the closing brace of the function definition. If…

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7 Reasons Customers Switch to Password Safe for Privileged Password Management

Posted September 24, 2014    Chris Burd

It’s clear that privileged password management tools are essential for keeping mission-critical data, servers and assets safe and secure. However, as I discussed in my previous post, there are several pitfalls to look out for when deploying a privileged password management solution. At this point, you may be wondering how BeyondTrust stacks up. With that,…

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