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The Confluence Of Influenza, 0Day Viruses and Least Privilege

Posted December 2, 2011    Peter McCalister

What does influenza, 0day viruses and least privilege have in common you may ask? Besides just being a cool title to get you to read this blog, it turns out that natural mutations, the fear of the unknown and reducing attack surfaces is the short answer.

virus

The long answer is best understood by first reading this article titled “Fighting 0days With Fundamentals” by Vincent Lu over at Dark Reading to see his views on how to pre-emptively secure systems against 0day attacks that, by definition, we know nothing about. In this article Mr. Lu ties 0day viruses to influenza by stating: “A close analogy in the real world is influenza. Over successive infections, the virus mutates into a new form that must be identified and analyzed before a vaccine can be created. After the mutation, the influenza virus is like a 0day because it has a new pattern that no immune system has previously encountered. So it easily infects thousands of people — even those who had previously been inoculated — before a vaccine can be created.”

For those of you who don’t know how anti-virus software works, it first requires a signature so that the perscriptive technology can be setup to fight it. Therefore a 0day virus can be particularly nasty if you are the one to get it before your anti-malware vendor. Thus the need, as Mr. Lu puts it, “is the reduction of your systems’ attack surface.”

Enter a least privilege solution. By eliminating admin rights on all IT systems (desktops and servers) you inhibit a 0day virus from hijacking full admin credentials and wreaking havoc on you corporate iT security.

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Additional articles

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At the End of Day You Can’t Control What Privileged Users Do: It’s about Detective/Deterrent Controls and Accountability

Posted March 31, 2015    Randy Franklin Smith

Live Webinar: Thursday, April 2, 2015 | 10am PT/1pm ET | REGISTER NOW! In this webinar, Security Expert Randy Franklin Smith will look at how to audit what admins do inside Linux and UNIX with sudo’s logging capabilities.

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British Airways Executive Club Member Accounts Hacked

Posted March 30, 2015    Brian Chappell

British Airways has released information regarding the hacking of a number of their Executive Club (BA’s frequent flyer programme) member’s accounts.

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On Demand Webinar – Why You Still Suck at Patching

Posted March 27, 2015    Lindsay Marsh

On Demand Webinar: Dave Shackleford recounts some of his personal experiences in patch management failure, and breaks down the most critical issues holding many teams back from patching more effectively.

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