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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.

Database Security Risks Run Amok Without Oversight

Posted February 1, 2012    Peter McCalister

As you can imagine, databases are in a class of data storage, organization, and management unto themselves. As such, the inherent security vulnerabilities in which a least privilege solution can help mitigate are also relatively unique. I’ve uncovered six that should be explored:

Misconfigurations: Database schemas can be very temperamental and any misconfiguration error can cascade into a huge problem or be so subtle that it may be difficult to uncover the impact. A frequent challenge here is the ambitious developer who somehow gets access to the production system instead of just their development sandbox.

Updates: Out-of-cycle patching can cause major disruption in operation and potentially lead to lost revenue if done on the primary transaction database. Here is where the ambitious tech support technician or developer believes that blindly trusting that your database vendor’s testing capabilities keep current with their latest patch is a good thing.

Application Attacks: Sometimes the easiest way to attack your database is to attack the outward-facing applications that are connected to that database, especially if those application are web-based. This can also come in the form of database access through non-approved channels such as open source tools capable of bypassing normal admin dashboards.

Transaction Monitoring: Sometimes it’s the smallest of things that can trip you up when looking to satisfy compliance or track down data theft or damage, so monitoring every transaction can be very important. However, it can also drown your data stores in amounts of information too voluminous to even interrogate.

Data Awareness: What is perceived, or in actuality is, confidential data can be subjective in some organizations and very clearly identified in others. Being aware of what class of data is stored where will be another critical success factor.

Privileged Users: My favorite, of course, is the privileged user. As discussed previously, the DBA’s omnipotent access to your database must be managed through a least privilege solution in order to ensure your governance and compliance policies are met as well as protect against the misuse of that privilege—intentionally, accidentally, or indirectly.

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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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