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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

Are Your Data Security Efforts Focused in the Right Area?

Posted January 28, 2015    Scott Lang

Vormetric Data Security recently released an insider threat report, with research conducted by HarrisPoll and analyzed by Ovum. Based on the survey responses, it is apparent that there is still a great deal of insecurity over data. However, the results also show that there may be misplaced investments to address those insecurities. I will explain…

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GHOST Vulnerability…Scary Indeed

Posted January 28, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

A vulnerability discovered by Qualys security researchers has surfaced within the GNU C Library that affects virtually all Linux operating systems. The vulnerability lies within the various gethostbyname*() functions and, as such, has been dubbed “GHOST.” GHOST is particularly nasty considering remote, arbitrary code execution can be achieved. In an effort to avoid taxing DNS lookups, glibc developers introduced…

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Your New Years Resolution: Controlling Privileged Users

Posted January 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Is 2015 the year you get a better handle on security? The news last year was grim – so much so, in fact, that many in the information security community despaired a bit. Really, the end-of-the-year infosec cocktail parties were a bit glum. OK, let’s be honest, infosec cocktail parties are usually not that wild…

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