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McAfee Report Implies We’re Still Focused Externally

Posted April 12, 2011    Peter McCalister

You may have already seen the results of a 1,000+ person survey conducted recently by McAfee and wrapped up in a crisp report. They estimate that businesses have lost more than $1 trillion in 2008 as a result of data leaks. With the help of SAIC and international research firm Vanson Bourrne, the company has added some meaty authority to what would otherwise be seen as a vendor-biased report.

According to the report, the most popular methods of protecting sensitive data are anti-virus, firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems, which are implemented by more than four in five organizations. Perhaps followed by deep packet inspection, which was reported by two-thirds of respondents.  It figures that all of these are outward-facing security mechanisms primarily intended to prevent malicious hackers, viruses and worms. Therein lies the problem.

Surveys from the CSI/FBI research team also show that most organizations believe the majority of their security risks are from external threats, yet actual analysis on of real breaches shows that internal threats outweigh external ones.  This last RSA I remember one of our execs was telling a reporter that people are finally realizing that their risks are from within. This was also a big story during the recession, where many organizations were bracing themselves for massive layoffs that were creating armies of angry, unemployed, ex-employees. Before the recession reports like those from the Computer Security Institute were trying to change our minds to realize where our focus should be – demonstrating the internal problem.  Therein lies the value of a least privilege solution to help prevent good people (insiders) from doing bad things (steal or harm data).

And yet, after all that, I still feel like the industry hasn’t caught on. What else could anyone possibly do to erase this perspective that the vast majority of risk comes from over glorified hackers?

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Additional articles

Dark Reading

2014: The Year of Privilege Vulnerabilities

Posted December 18, 2014    Chris Burd

Of the 30 critical-rated Microsoft Security Bulletins this year, 24 involved vulnerabilities where the age-old best practice of “least privilege” could limit the impact of malware and raise the bar of difficulty for attackers.

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Looking back on information security in 2014

Posted December 16, 2014    Dave Shackleford

Dave Shackleford is a SANS Instructor and founder of Voodoo Security. Join Dave for a closer look at the year in security, and learn what you can do to prepare for 2015, with this upcoming webinar. 2014 has been one heck of an insane year for information security professionals. To start with, we’ve been forced…

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patch-tuesday

December 2014 Patch Tuesday

Posted December 9, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This month marks the final Patch Tuesday of 2014. Most of what is being patched this month includes Internet Explorer, Exchange, Office, etc… and continues a trend of the greatest hits collection of commonly attacked Microsoft software. Probably the one thing that broke the mold this month is that for once there is not some…

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