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Data Breach Excuses and What They Really Mean: Excuse 4

Posted December 30, 2010    Peter McCalister

Excuse 4: DON’T MAKE AN EXCUSE, BLAME IT ON A THIRD PARTY.  Yep, that’s what we hear next when data shows up stolen or vandalized.  So this fourth installment of the Top 5 Excuses for Data Breaches and What They Really Mean will attempt to translate this into what really happened and use current news to exemplify our point.

McDonald’s adopted the ‘we’ve been hurt too and are in this together’ tone when they warned customers to be on guard against identity theft, phishing and other scams thanks to a data breach following the theft of customer data held by a third-party contracted by McDonald’s.

As PC World rightly points out, the smaller third-party organizations frequently lack the security policies and controls of the larger companies, and provide an Achilles heel that hackers can exploit to gain access to the more valuable network–often flying undetected under the radar.

Our view is similar.  With so many potential points of entry to sensitive data and so many different attack surfaces from which infection can happen, a shift in perspective is required. Companies need to think less about building walls and more about establishing clear boundaries.

An employee at their desk or on the move, subcontractor or partner: access to the network should be the same.  When we talk about privileged access, it’s not who is more privileged than who in terms of their relationship to the company, it simply refers to who gets access to what as defined by their role definition.

As the straight lines of traditional security practice get increasingly blurred and permeable, privilege access becomes the cornerstone of not just good network security, but also good people management.

Using open source software to solve this problem can be just as bad.  Check out this white paper for more information

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Additional articles

Dark Reading

2014: The Year of Privilege Vulnerabilities

Posted December 18, 2014    Chris Burd

Of the 30 critical-rated Microsoft Security Bulletins this year, 24 involved vulnerabilities where the age-old best practice of “least privilege” could limit the impact of malware and raise the bar of difficulty for attackers.

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Looking back on information security in 2014

Posted December 16, 2014    Dave Shackleford

Dave Shackleford is a SANS Instructor and founder of Voodoo Security. Join Dave for a closer look at the year in security, and learn what you can do to prepare for 2015, with this upcoming webinar. 2014 has been one heck of an insane year for information security professionals. To start with, we’ve been forced…

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December 2014 Patch Tuesday

Posted December 9, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This month marks the final Patch Tuesday of 2014. Most of what is being patched this month includes Internet Explorer, Exchange, Office, etc… and continues a trend of the greatest hits collection of commonly attacked Microsoft software. Probably the one thing that broke the mold this month is that for once there is not some…

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