BeyondTrust

Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

Welcome to Security in Context

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.

Leave a Reply

Additional articles

{c4eae211-3ca2-4f8e-b2b9-6df0e970aab1}_g.markhardy

The “insider” threat. Is it real, or is it being blown out of proportion?

Posted March 4, 2015    G. Mark Hardy

A lot depends on whether or not you’ve been compromised. And therein lies the problem. Cyber threats are often ignored until they cause some damage, at which point management looks for people to blame and gives all kinds of attention to fixing the problem – until the next crisis in accounting or warehousing or staffing comes along.

Tags:
, , ,
webinar_chalk

Webinar March 4th: Recreating the Carbanak Breach & Techniques for Mitigating Similar Attacks

Posted March 3, 2015    Lindsay Marsh

Join BeyondTrust Research and Development team for an in-depth live webinar that will explore the attack vectors used in the Carbanak Bank Breach and share successful mitigation techniques needed to prevent this type of attack.

Tags:
, ,
VMware Hardening Guidelines-img3

How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

Tags:
, , , ,