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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

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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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Privileged Passwords: The Bane of Security Professionals Everywhere

Posted February 19, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Passwords have been with us since ancient times. Known as “watchwords”, ancient Roman military guards would pass a wooden tablet with a daily secret word engraved from one shift to the next, with each guard position marking the tablet to indicate it had been received. The military has been using passwords, counter-passwords, and even sound…

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Privileged Account Management Process

In Vulnerability Management, Process is King

Posted February 18, 2015    Morey Haber

You have a vulnerability scanner, but where’s your process? Most organizations are rightly concerned about possible vulnerabilities in their systems, applications, networked devices, and other digital assets and infrastructure components. Identifying vulnerabilities is indeed important, and most security professionals have some kind of scanning solution in place. But what is most essential to understand is…

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