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Security In Context

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

Lessons Learned from Privileged Identity Management Mistakes

Post by Peter McCalister May 2, 2011

It never ceases to amaze me how predictable we are as human beings. Whether it’s continuing to repeat our own mistakes or thinking the consequences of others’ actions would never apply to us, it seems we’re far too eager to turn a blind eye to reality. Reality, however, has a funny way of coming back to haunt us.

Take, for example, the misuse of privilege. As security breaches become more and more prevalent, there are still companies that have not yet eliminated the risk of internal vulnerabilities. If employees have free reign over what they can access, a security breach stops becoming a question of if and becomes a question of when. That question, unfortunately, was answered for Gucci this past November.

Sam Chihlung Yin, after being fired as an IT network engineer for the company, used a fake network token he had created to gain unregulated access to the Gucci network. While using this token, he shut down virtual servers and storage, deleted a number of corporate inboxes, and duplicated sensitive materials from the database.

There are several lessons we can take away from Gucci’s experience. The first and foremost is to have an identity management solution in place within your enterprise. Allowing any employee unfettered access to all company assets is both unnecessary and dangerous. The second is to regularly monitor privileges as work roles, new employees, and new data emerge and change. Take the steps now to learn from the past, and prevent any insiders from misusing their privileges on any level.

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