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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

Just One Open Server Is Enough For Misuse Of Privilege

Post by Peter McCalister January 30, 2012

Gambling on the odds may be fine for a weekend in Las Vegas, but do you really want to take that same risk with your precious corporate information assets? Zappos learned the hard way what happens when even one server is at risk from a security perspective.

A recent Dark Reading articled entitled “Zappos Dealing With Data Breach” reported on the recent need for the online shoe and clothing retailer (owned by Amazon) to email its 24 million customers with a notification of an internal breach. The article goes on to quote Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh: “We were recently the victim of a cyberattack by a criminal who gained access to parts of our internal network and systems through one of our servers in Kentucky. We are cooperating with law enforcement to undergo an exhaustive investigation.”

I recently read Mr. Hsieh’s excellent book Delivering Happines and was thoroughly impressed with his attention to corporate culture and customer service. His 10 core values can be an inspiration for every company looking to differentiate itself in this hyper-competitive global economy. The challenge that needs to be highlighted in this story is that all it ever takes in a single server with full admin rights available for someone to abuse that privilege and gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Implementing a least privilege solution across every server (physical, virtual and cloud-based) is a great first step in preventing this type of embarrassment from happening to you.

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