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 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


Scottrade Breach: Identified by Federal Officials

Posted October 5, 2015    Morey Haber

Late afternoon on October 2nd, news leaked out of another large security breach, now at Scottrade. The identity count of records, in the millions again (4.6 million is the latest). This breach comes on the second day of national CyberSecurity month, the first being Experian/T-Mobile breach.

3d image Data Breach issues concept word cloud background

Experian/T-Mobile Data Breach: When 2 Days is not Enough

Posted October 2, 2015    Morey Haber

On October 1, Experian admitted full responsibility for the loss of T-Mobile customer data. 15 million user records dating back to 2013 were effected in the breach, with data including sensitive information that may be decryptable like social security numbers and drivers licenses.


Who Moved My Front Door? (What is Privileged Account Management?)

Posted October 1, 2015    Nigel Hedges

Not too long ago, I was sitting in a room with a very fluffy sales guy. In between words such as “we’ll make this happen” and “leave it with me, I’ll get it sorted” he asked the question “What is Privileged Account Management”?