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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.

Data Breach Excuses and What They Really Mean: Excuse 1

Posted December 27, 2010    Peter McCalister

Excuse 1: IT’S TOO SENSITIVE TO COMMENT FURTHER, FOR FEAR OF RISKING SECURITY FURTHER.

Yep, that’s what we hear the most when at first data shows up stolen or vandalized.  Upon hearing this for the umpteenth time, we realized it was time to document the Top 5 Excuses for Data Breaches and What They Really Mean. So, over the course of this week, we will share those excuses, attempt to translate them into what really happened and use current news to exemplify our point.

When Vodafone terminated several staff in Australia over a breach in it’s customer information database led to a leak of private data a couple of weeks ago, it appears they used this excuse to buy them some time, while they figured out what really happened.

‘Continues to investigate the matter….attempting to determine if an employee either misused the password, or sold it to criminals outside the company.. number of staff terminated…can’t say how many until investigation is complete… New South Wales police called in….’

All bold positive statements which expertly relay the concern of Vodafone of the errant behavior of one of their

employees. And yet, likely to be a smokescreen for a company which knows full well what happened, and fears saying more because it was so neglectful on their part, that to share the full details would risk incurring serious damage to their very trusted brand.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if their errant employee misused the password or sold it to criminals, the employee in questions was over privileged, meaning they had access to a server beyond the remit of their work role, or, had legitimate but unmonitored access.

Further on, we learn that in fact the CEO has already brought in an independent security firm to review the systems, and to preempt any further leaks, and that the company is changing the database password every 24 hours.

Now if the independent security firm knows their onions from their shallots, they will know that by installing an automated privilege access management system, it would be possible to  change the password not just every 24 hours, but everytime someone needs to access the server?

A password automatically generated, based on the approval of the employees request to access the server, and against the role definition of their job.

Indeed, protecting the enterprise from those with the motive and expertise isn’t just a matter of mission-critical servers. The mindset that there will be those with access who have IT skills should be incorporated into security in everything we do.

To avoid having to use excuse 1 to your boss, try reading this white paper on Privilege Identity Management Demystified

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Additional articles

CyberResiliency

6 things I like about Gartner’s Cyber Resiliency Strategy

Posted August 27, 2015    Nigel Hedges

There were 6 key principles, or recommendations, that Gartner suggested were important drivers towards a great cyber resiliency posture. I commented more than once during the conference that many of these things were not new. They are all important recommendations that are best when placed together and given to senior management and the board – a critical element of organisations that desperately need to “get it”.

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Why Customers Choose PowerBroker: Flexible Deployment Options

Posted August 26, 2015    Scott Lang

BeyondTrust commissioned a study of our customer base in early 2015 to determine how we are different from other alternatives in the market. What we learned was that there were six key differentiators that separate BeyondTrust from other solution providers in the market. We call it the PowerBroker difference,

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Mac-Security-Enterprise

On Demand Webinar: Security Risk of Mac OS X in the Enterprise

Posted August 20, 2015    BeyondTrust Software

In the last several years, Mac administrators have come to realize that they may be just as vulnerable to exploits and malware as most other operating systems. New malware and adware is released all the time, and there have been serious vulnerabilities patched by Apple in the past several years, some of which may afford attackers full control of your systems.

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