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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 Breaches…And How Insiders Affect Them

Posted October 31, 2011    Peter McCalister

With all the data breaches in the news these days, security is definitely a hot topic in the information technology community. Preventing risks and threats is the core of keeping information, and ultimately people, safe.

A lot of discussion goes on about the best way to do this- which is often quite unnecessary, in my opinion. Instead of debating whether it’s criminal outsiders of disgruntled/malicious/accident prone insiders, let’s take a look at how your assets get hacked/breached/leaked/etc. in the first place. It starts with insiders. Your employees and your 3d party contractors are given access to information within a database, which creates a gateway for critical information to get out. Whether those insiders abuse that information or not, they are still acting as the access point for data to escape. Sometimes data is leaked and/or stolen when outsiders hijack credentials and hack into your network. Other times it’s the actual employee who is responsible. Either way- the more people who have unmanaged access to data, the wider you are opening your door for a breach.

When we look at this situation, which plagues most organizations in many different industries, it seems daunting and nearly impossible to control. Fortunately, there is a fix- and a seemingly simple one at that. The key is to create as few access points as possible across all platforms in your organization, and then granularly monitor and manage the access points that are necessary. For example, desktop users should run as standard users, and those with access to servers should not be given the root password. In database environments, all DBA activity should be closely monitored, and hypervisor privileges in virtual enterprises must be granularly managed. It is through this process, which has been identified multiple times on this blog, that least privilege is truly implemented.

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Additional articles

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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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Privileged Passwords: The Bane of Security Professionals Everywhere

Posted February 19, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Passwords have been with us since ancient times. Known as “watchwords”, ancient Roman military guards would pass a wooden tablet with a daily secret word engraved from one shift to the next, with each guard position marking the tablet to indicate it had been received. The military has been using passwords, counter-passwords, and even sound…

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Privileged Account Management Process

In Vulnerability Management, Process is King

Posted February 18, 2015    Morey Haber

You have a vulnerability scanner, but where’s your process? Most organizations are rightly concerned about possible vulnerabilities in their systems, applications, networked devices, and other digital assets and infrastructure components. Identifying vulnerabilities is indeed important, and most security professionals have some kind of scanning solution in place. But what is most essential to understand is…

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