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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.

Firewalls Not Preventing Data Breaches? Try a Dose of Least Privilege

Posted April 4, 2012    Peter McCalister

An article was published last month indicating a malware-infected computer at ConnecticutCollege was the cause of the breach of 18,000 social security numbers of teachers, employees, and student workers. According to the report, “a computer in the CCSU business office was infected in December, and sat on the system for eight days before it was detected and removed.” By now we all know that data breaches are bad. We understand the ramifications of lost/manipulated/stolen data. We know they should be avoided at all costs. So why do they keep happening?

Maybe it’s because IT organizations aren’t treating the root cause of the problem. Since we led with the Connecticut College incident, let’s use it as an example. I’m sure there were extensive firewalls protecting the sensitive information of those 18,000 people. I have no doubt that a lot of thought and planning went into the anti-malware software that was supposedly protecting the corporate network. But what happens when that’s not enough? Firewalls and anti-malware software are just Band-Aids when it comes to treating IT security as a whole. While they help by placing a barrier between the outside world and the goings on of the corporate network, they don’t actually treat or solve the cause of why the breaches are occurring in the first place.

Unmanaged and unaudited administrative credentials and root access are at the cause of data breaches. Bottom line. These credentials can be hijacked by malware and allow hacks to occur in otherwise secure corporate networks. To properly treat the problems that cause data breaches, these credentials MUST be managed. Users must have access to tasks necessary for job functionality, but not too many that they can access anything at any time. When this kind of freedom is allowed your users, malware can take hold and your data becomes insecure. Fortunately, BeyondTrust can help. Click here for more information on ways to manage administrative credentials the right way and reduce the threat of malware in your organization.

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Additional articles

Dark Reading

2014: The Year of Privilege Vulnerabilities

Posted December 18, 2014    Chris Burd

Of the 30 critical-rated Microsoft Security Bulletins this year, 24 involved vulnerabilities where the age-old best practice of “least privilege” could limit the impact of malware and raise the bar of difficulty for attackers.

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Looking back on information security in 2014

Posted December 16, 2014    Dave Shackleford

Dave Shackleford is a SANS Instructor and founder of Voodoo Security. Join Dave for a closer look at the year in security, and learn what you can do to prepare for 2015, with this upcoming webinar. 2014 has been one heck of an insane year for information security professionals. To start with, we’ve been forced…

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December 2014 Patch Tuesday

Posted December 9, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This month marks the final Patch Tuesday of 2014. Most of what is being patched this month includes Internet Explorer, Exchange, Office, etc… and continues a trend of the greatest hits collection of commonly attacked Microsoft software. Probably the one thing that broke the mold this month is that for once there is not some…

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