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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.

Terminator V: Utilities Under Fire Without Least Privilege

Posted October 14, 2011    Peter McCalister

Remember the premise of Terminator and about another 100 or so Hollywood movies that have computers taking over the world? The first step in this conquest is always that we rely heavily on machines being connected to the worldwide web to make our life easier. This becomes problematic when said equipment is managing critical infrastructure like say electricity, water, communications, etc. Wait isn’t that what we’ve now done?

I guess we can take solace in knowing that it is a far cry from a Hollywood picture to an actual reality of someone using said connections to utilities for purposes other than originally planned… or can we?

A recent article published in Sci-TechToday.com written by Douglas Birch and titled “Cyberattackes on Utilities, Industries Rise” states that “Acting DHS Deputy Undersecretary Greg Schaffer warns that U.S. utilities and industries face a rising number of cyber break-ins as industrial machinery is wired to the Net. According to the DHS, Control System Security Program cyber experts based at the Idaho National Laboratory responded to 116 requests for assistance in 2010, and 342 this year.” The article goes on to report “We are connecting equipment that has never been connected before to these global networks,” Schaffer said. Disgruntled employees, hackers and perhaps foreign governments “are knocking on the doors of these systems, and there have been intrusions.”

Ultimately any IT infrastructure without some level of least privilege solution to mitigate the potential harm of intentional, accidental or indirect harm will be at risk.

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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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4bestpracticesaudits-blog

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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