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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.

Insider Threats Exist in Virtualized Environments Too!

Posted September 13, 2011    Peter McCalister

Disgruntled Dave is at it again! What happens when a disgruntled IT administrator deletes the contents of 15 virtual hosts (roughly equivalent to 88 different computer servers)? According to a recent eWeek article highlighting the incident – quite a bit! For the Japanese pharmaceutical company, the attack was so damaging that it froze operations for “a number of days, leaving employees unable to ship products, to cut checks or even communicate via email,” according to court documents. Estimated damages cost the company $800,000. For the disgruntled employee, he’s looking at the possibility of serving 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in November.

While this incident highlights the perils of disgruntled employees it also clearly illustrates the vulnerabilities around virtualization and cloud computing infrastructures. The prolific use of virtualization and cloud models characterized by multi-hybrid architectures are providing organizations with notable cost benefits, but are also introducing added complexity when it comes to privileged access. According to Neil MacDonald, vice president and Gartner fellow, “Most virtualized workloads are being deployed insecurely, introducing significant organizational risk. Installation of x86 virtualization platforms should be treated as one of the most critical software layers in data centers, but tools and processes are relatively immature and staff, resellers and consultants are still learning. Because of the critical support the hypervisor/VMM layer provides, administrative access to this layer must be tightly controlled.”

In many cases measures are already in place to protect companies from abuse of root-level access on physical servers, but awareness and understanding of how that translates onto their virtual counterparts is low. The answer to this vulnerability is a privilege identity management solution like PowerBroker Virtualization.

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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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