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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 5

Posted December 31, 2010    Peter McCalister

Excuse 5:  APPOLOGIZE AND REASSURE CUSTOMERS IT WAS AN ACCIDENT RATHER THAN INTENTIONAL HARM.  You guessed it, that’s what we hear next when data shows up stolen or vandalized.  So this fifth installment of the Top 5 Excuses for Data Breaches and What They Really Meanwill attempt to translate this into what really happened and use current news to exemplify our point.

The University of Hawaii used this ‘cover-our-butts’ excuse recently when they realized a former faculty member had inadvertently posted the social security numbers, grades, and other personal information of 40,000 former students to an unprotected server. This information has been accessible by a simple Google search for the past year.

“We are troubled (and) determined to notify everyone according to law and committed to do everything possible in the future to prevent this from happening.”  Their spokesman, Ryan Mielke, also stated that there didn’t appear to be misuse of the information.

That hardly makes it OK, especially when the information was available to all and sundry for 11 months, and that the former faculty member even had access to the data to conduct their admission research on behalf of the University.

Monitoring database access is part of the solution, but addressing the misuse of privilege requires going beyond that.  It is just as essential to continually audit privileges to ensure employees and partners only have access to the minimum amount of sensitive data necessary to perform their duties.  This requirement for separation of duties is also a cornerstone of virtually all compliance regulations.

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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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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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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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