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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

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On Demand Webinar – Why You Still Suck at Patching

Posted March 27, 2015    Lindsay Marsh

On Demand Webinar: Dave Shackleford recounts some of his personal experiences in patch management failure, and breaks down the most critical issues holding many teams back from patching more effectively.

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Why You Still Suck at Patching…and How to Turn Your Life Around

Posted March 25, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Live webinar | March 26, 2015 | 10am PT/1pm ET | Dave Shackleford, SANS Instructor | Why You Still Suck at Patching…and How to Turn Your Life Around

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Privilege Gone Wild 2: Over 25% of Organizations Have No Privileged Access Controls

Posted March 24, 2015    Scott Lang

BeyondTrust recently conducted a survey, with over 700 respondents, to explore how organizations view the risk of misuse from privileged account misuse, as well as trends in addressing and mitigating those risks.

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