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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.

Privileged Accounts are Pervasive and Problematic

Posted December 13, 2010    Peter McCalister

If someone is walking around your organization with t-shirt that says “Bow before me, for I am root.,” then you will have a big problem on your hands when the auditors come around or if a hacker decides to target your company for theft or cyber sabotage.

How pervasive are privileged accounts in your organization?  Just start with anentitlements audit.  Request your Information Technology department, or outsourced provider, generate a report of every user’s access status (i.e. entitlement credentials) across servers, desktops, network devices, virtual servers and cloud applications.  Once you have this, just add up how many times you see “root, ” “superuser,” “administrator,” “su,” “suid” or any other credential with superuser/administrator-level privileges.  If your organization is like most others, you will discover there is at least one account which is shared across IT admins for each server and network device. You may also discover there is one admin to 5-10 servers with this level of privilege.  If you use MS Windows in the standard configuration, then every desktop user will also have administrator level access to their desktop or laptop computer. Now that’s pervasive!

How problematic are privileged accounts in your organization?  Just ask any hacker what their number one target is for any attempt at infiltration. The answer will come back as “harvesting admin credentials for direct access to the resource desired.”  Check out this story in Forbes for one example of what happened at the University of Central Missouri, or this story in the Wall Street Journal to see what happened at Goldman Sachs.

How do you protect privileged accounts in your organization?  The short answer is to eliminate all admin rights across servers, desktops, networks devices, virtual servers and cloud environments.  You can do this by implementing a privileged identity management solution.  Check out this white paper to learn how.

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You Change Your Oil Regularly; Why Not Your Passwords?

Posted September 11, 2014    Chris Burd

There are many things in life that get changed regularly:  your car oil, toothbrush and hopefully, your bed sheets.  It’s rare that you give these things much thought – even when you forget to change them. But what if you’re forgetting something that can cost you millions of dollars if left unchanged for long periods…

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On-Demand Webcast: The Little JPEG that Could (Hack Your Organization) with Marcus Murray

Posted September 10, 2014    Chris Burd

IT security has come a long way, but every once in a while you see something that makes you think otherwise. Every day, internal and external hackers breach and traverse “secure” environments, making you wonder just how easy it is for attackers to completely compromise your network. In a new on-demand BeyondTrust webcast, Marcus Murray,…

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Retina Vulnerability Audits – September 2014 Patch Tuesday

Posted September 9, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

The following is a list of Retina vulnerability audits for this September 2014 Patch Tuesday: MS14-052 – Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (2977629) 35141 – Microsoft Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (2977629) 35142 – Microsoft Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (2977629) – IE8/2003 35143 – Microsoft Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (2977629) – IE8…