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Déjà Vu All Over Again

Posted September 16, 2011    Peter McCalister

Several months ago I commented on the 3 Pillars of Desktop Security – patch management, virus protection and least privilege. Reviewing our 2010 Microsoft Vulnerability report, I realized just how much most people in IT underestimate the importance of properly limiting administrative privileges in protecting desktops for vulnerabilities.

As I now talk to customers about desktop virtualization and cloud computing its déjà vu all over again. I see some who think that because they can easily spin up a new virtual desktop they don’t need to worry about up to date patches and virus protection Least privilege on a virtual desktop – not a big deal, I can lock down the corporate image and let people spin up their other apps in a virtual sandbox. And it’s worse for cloud based apps. “Well the app is in the cloud so that’s’ where we apply security”.

While there is some truth in all of these strategies, the reality is that the physical device – desktop, laptop or mobile – on which the virtual applications run or where the cloud is accessed from is the weak link in the security chain. All the attack surfaces in the purely physical world are still there in the virtual world. A user with administrative rights can still control access to memory, processes and storage and reroute data and passwords and so can anyone who hacks their way into that desktop. They can install anything they want – like a keystroke logger – change security settings and cover their tracks. So if you are worried about the vulnerability of your desktops in the brave new world of virtualization and clouds then continue to use all three pillars of desktop protection – patch management, virus protection and implement a secure least privilege solution.

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Additional articles

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On Demand Webinar – Why You Still Suck at Patching

Posted March 27, 2015    Lindsay Marsh

On Demand Webinar: Dave Shackleford recounts some of his personal experiences in patch management failure, and breaks down the most critical issues holding many teams back from patching more effectively.

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Why You Still Suck at Patching…and How to Turn Your Life Around

Posted March 25, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Live webinar | March 26, 2015 | 10am PT/1pm ET | Dave Shackleford, SANS Instructor | Why You Still Suck at Patching…and How to Turn Your Life Around

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Privilege Gone Wild 2: Over 25% of Organizations Have No Privileged Access Controls

Posted March 24, 2015    Scott Lang

BeyondTrust recently conducted a survey, with over 700 respondents, to explore how organizations view the risk of misuse from privileged account misuse, as well as trends in addressing and mitigating those risks.

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