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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

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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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Privileged Passwords: The Bane of Security Professionals Everywhere

Posted February 19, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Passwords have been with us since ancient times. Known as “watchwords”, ancient Roman military guards would pass a wooden tablet with a daily secret word engraved from one shift to the next, with each guard position marking the tablet to indicate it had been received. The military has been using passwords, counter-passwords, and even sound…

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Privileged Account Management Process

In Vulnerability Management, Process is King

Posted February 18, 2015    Morey Haber

You have a vulnerability scanner, but where’s your process? Most organizations are rightly concerned about possible vulnerabilities in their systems, applications, networked devices, and other digital assets and infrastructure components. Identifying vulnerabilities is indeed important, and most security professionals have some kind of scanning solution in place. But what is most essential to understand is…

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