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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

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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