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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

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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