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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.

Is Your Organization Prepared Against Advanced Persistent Threats?

Posted May 9, 2012    Peter McCalister

An advanced persistent threat (APT) is an attack by which an unauthorized person gains access to the network and stays there undetected for a long period of time. The intent of an advanced persistent threat is often to steal data than to damage the network. Sectors with high-value information, such as defense, manufacturing, financial, telecom verticals and increasingly social networking are the most common targets for APT attacks. The Stuxnet Worm is a good example of APT.

Advanced: sophisticated – hacker has the ability to evade detection and gain and maintain access to well protected networks and sensitive information

Persistent: continues to run until objectives are met – making it difficult to prevent access to your computer network once the threat actor has successfully gained access to your network

Threat: organized and well planned crime – hacker has not only the intent but also the capability to gain access to sensitive information stored electronically originated from the military sector and has been in play for decades.

APT captured media attention in the context of enterprise software, beyond being a mere security buzzword, after Google and Intel admitted to have been targeted by advanced persistent threats aimed at compromising sensitive corporate data and Google’s threat to pull out of China in January 2010. EMC’s announcement that RSA’s SecurID information had been swiped via a sophisticated hack attack in March 2011 further cemented the concerns and need to protect against these sophisticated and organized cyber-attack to access and steal information from compromised systems. Other than Google and RSA, we have also seen Sony and Lockheed Martin be hit by security breaches using advanced persistent threats (APTs).

Following the SecureID hack, Computer World opined that organizations should be proactively prepared for advanced persistent threats or risk being the next RSA. Threat modeling of past attacks, hardening computers’ security settings, implementing strong password policies, implementing application control whitelisting, implementing enterprise wide log management systems with comprehensive alerts and auditing, and most importantly implementing a least-privilege authentication and access control system and policies is critical in battling APT.

Although APT attacks are hard to identify, and combating the APT is a protracted event requiring a sustained effort to rid your networks of the threat, data theft can never be completely invisible. APT requires the victim organization to detect compromised systems, collect evidence, analyze data and remediate threats more rapidly, efficiently and effectively. Detecting anomalies in outbound data may be the best way for an administrator to recognize an APT attack.

Thanks to the persistent nature of APT attacks, traditional security controls do not deter these relentless hackers. A persistent attacker aims at another entry point to the organization – the insider. BeyondTrust, has been securing the perimeter within for over 25 years and gained the leadership position in management and access control for privileged credentials. BeyondTrust has been focused on the accidental and sometimes intentional threats posed by the insider and on Preventing Good People from doing Bad Things.

At BeyondTrust, we believe the first step towards cushioning damages that could be caused by advanced persistent threats, is to not give users access to any resource they don’t require or use. Managing your privileged users’ access and using appropriate delegation policies will significantly reduce the risk posed by APT to your organization.

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Additional articles

CyberResiliency

6 things I like about Gartner’s Cyber Resiliency Strategy

Posted August 27, 2015    Nigel Hedges

There were 6 key principles, or recommendations, that Gartner suggested were important drivers towards a great cyber resiliency posture. I commented more than once during the conference that many of these things were not new. They are all important recommendations that are best when placed together and given to senior management and the board – a critical element of organisations that desperately need to “get it”.

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Why Customers Choose PowerBroker: Flexible Deployment Options

Posted August 26, 2015    Scott Lang

BeyondTrust commissioned a study of our customer base in early 2015 to determine how we are different from other alternatives in the market. What we learned was that there were six key differentiators that separate BeyondTrust from other solution providers in the market. We call it the PowerBroker difference,

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Mac-Security-Enterprise

On Demand Webinar: Security Risk of Mac OS X in the Enterprise

Posted August 20, 2015    BeyondTrust Software

In the last several years, Mac administrators have come to realize that they may be just as vulnerable to exploits and malware as most other operating systems. New malware and adware is released all the time, and there have been serious vulnerabilities patched by Apple in the past several years, some of which may afford attackers full control of your systems.

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