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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.

News Year’s Resolution For 2012: Practice Safe Security

Posted January 20, 2012    Peter McCalister

Admit it. You follow certain practices within your IT environment you know to be risky from a security perspective.

You’re not alone. In fact, the number of IT professionals who routinely and knowingly take such risks is surprisingly high. Often the rationale is reasonable: you have limited resources and more IT projects than your staff can realistically manage. Your choices are : 1) miss a key deadline, 2) refuse a critical project, or 3) accept the workload you’re given and figure out a way to improve efficiency enough to complete all the projects on time. Not a tough decision to make, considering the most likely outcome to the first two choices is a not-so-subtle reminder that management teams are not interested in hearing from employees offering to do less, more slowly.

So you set out to improve efficiency instead. The problem is, “improve efficiency” typically translates to “cut corners.” Bypass a security process or two. Take a not-so-calculated risk. Grant a privilege that might be suspect; maybe even give out a root password so someone can wrap up a maintenance job that’s been on hold while the admin assigned to the task has been out sick. And these help desk calls that keep coming in for this new software the marketing team needs on their desktops – maybe just give them local admin rights for the time being so they can download the software themselves. You can always go back next week and restrict them back to standard users (if you remember to).

“Improving efficiency” may also mean signing off on a compliance control without proper examination. Who has time to inspect sudoer files on 250 servers every single quarter to validate access privileges? Let’s spot-check, say, 25 instead. Just this quarter, until you can get caught up.

The interesting thing is that for a small upfront time investment, you can obtain tools to improve efficiency in these areas permanently. You don’t have to go to 250 servers to inspect sudoer files if you centralize privileged user policies in one place and have one entitlement report to examine. And elevating a privilege on the desktop so people have what they need to do their jobs can be done almost instantly, without granting local admin rights. All you need are the right tools – ones that allow you to keep your IT environment secure without impacting productivity. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution you can keep: practicing safe security, efficiently.

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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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