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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

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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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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