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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

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

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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