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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

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Don’t Create a Different sudoers File for Each System

Posted May 20, 2015    Randy Franklin Smith

What if you have multiple Linux and/or Unix systems? Sudo management can become onerous and unwieldy if you try to manage a different sudoers file on each system. The good news is that sudo supports multiple systems.

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What Does Microsoft Local Administrator Password Solution Really Do?

Posted May 19, 2015    Morey Haber

LAPS is a feature that allows the randomization of local administrator accounts across the domain. Although it would seem that this capability overlaps with features in BeyondTrust’s PowerBroker Password Safe (PBPS), the reality is it is more suited for simple use cases such as changing the local Windows admin account and not much more.

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On Demand Webinar: Securing Windows Server with Security Compliance Manager

Posted May 14, 2015    BeyondTrust Software

On Demand Webinar: Security Expert Russell Smith, explains how to use Microsoft’s free Security Compliance Manager (SCM) tool to create and deploy your own security baselines, including user and computer authentication settings.

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