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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Mozilla Breach and Privileged Users

Posted January 11, 2011    Peter McCalister

If you have one of 44,000 inactive Mozilla accounts, you may have received a belated Christmas present on December 27th when the company sent out notifications of a potential leak of their account information. In this case the company was able to reassure those users there was virtually no possibility of any harm to them.

accidental misuse of privilegeHowever what’s interesting about the incident is I can only presume it ties back to a very specific administrator who on a very specific day and time made a mistake and put the database on the wrong server. Something we see with surprising frequency.

Now put yourself in Mozilla’s shoes. If this happened to you, would you know which IT staff was responsible? What would you tell the CEO? Would a witch hunt ensue and how would that impact the department?

The incident highlights once more that the IT staff can and do make terrible mistakes that can cost millions in breaches, notifications and more. Because IT staff have such deep access to the IT systems themselves, a single logistical mistake can have deep security implications.

The incident highlights why organizations need processes and systems in place that account for the very real possibility of errors by IT staff. In other words, you need to monitor and record the actions of individual administrators and remove blanket root access.

This not only creates accountability for individual staff to not make a mistake in the first place, but avoids the witch hunt when it happens. Employees need to know that if they make mistakes, the company will know it was them.

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Additional articles

How To Implement The Australian Signals Directorate’s Top 4 Strategies

Posted October 20, 2014    Morey Haber

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), also known as the Defence Signals Directorate, has developed a list of strategies to mitigate targeted cyber intrusions. The recommended strategies were developed through ASD’s extensive experience in operational cyber security, including responding to serious security intrusions and performing vulnerability assessments and penetration testing for Australian government agencies. These recommendations…

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Exploiting MS14-059 because sometimes XSS is fun, sometimes…

Posted October 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This October, Microsoft has provided a security update for System.Web.Mvc.dll which addresses a ‘Security Feature Bypass’. The vulnerability itself is in ASP.NET MVC technology and given its wide adoption we thought we would take a closer look. Referring to the bulletin we can glean a few useful pieces of information: “A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists…

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Four Best Practices for Passing Privileged Account Audits

Posted October 16, 2014    Chris Burd

Like most IT organizations, your team may periodically face the “dreaded” task of being audited. Your process for delegating privileged access to desktops, servers, and infrastructure devices is a massive target for the auditor’s microscope. An audit’s findings can have significant implications on technology and business strategy, so it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared…

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