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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

IRS-Data-Breach

The tip of the IRS data breach – and it IS an iceberg

Posted May 27, 2015    Morey Haber

The IRS has been warned for decades about their security best practices. And now, at least 100,000 Americans have had their records compromised. How? The IRS uses a service called “Get Transcript”.

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Tales from the Datacenter: Vulnerability Management Nightmares

Posted May 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Vulnerability scanning, threat management, risk analysis, patching, and configuration management are some of the major activities usually associated with vulnerability management, and none of these are new…so why are we failing so badly at many of them?

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Don’t Create a Different sudoers File for Each System

Posted May 20, 2015    Randy Franklin Smith

What if you have multiple Linux and/or Unix systems? Sudo management can become onerous and unwieldy if you try to manage a different sudoers file on each system. The good news is that sudo supports multiple systems.