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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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Failing the Security Basics: Backoff Point-of-Sale Malware

Posted August 22, 2014    Marc Maiffret

At the beginning of this month, US-CERT issued a security alert relating to a string of breaches that had been targeting Point of Sale (POS) systems. The alert details that attackers were leveraging brute forcing tools to target common remote desktop applications such as Microsoft’s Remote Desktop, Apple Remote Desktop, Splashtop and LogMeIn among others….

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Troubleshooting Windows Privilege Management Rules with Policy Monitor

Posted August 21, 2014    Jason Silva

When defining and testing PowerBroker for Windows rules for production or pilots, customers sometimes tell us, “I don’t think this policy / program is working.” This is usually a case of the policy not properly triggering because of the way the rule was created. A unique feature of PowerBroker for Windows compared to other solutions is a client-side…

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BeyondTrust Webcast: Darren Mar-Elia’s 4 Active Directory Change Scenarios to Track

Posted August 20, 2014    Chris Burd

In our latest webcast, we joined Darren Mar-Elia, CTO at SDM Software, to discuss best practices for Active Directory (AD) change management. Here are some key takeaways from the presentation, followed by a link to a full-length video of the presentation. Mar-Elia kicks things off with a critical insight: that the best AD change management…

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