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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.

There is No Patch For Stupidity

Posted January 24, 2011    Peter McCalister

No, I’m not talking about a Boy or Girl Scout patch (or merit badge) now awarded for making dumb errors with information technology at work.  I’m referring to the ever present vendor tech support cry of “just install the patch” whenever something goes wrong.

In this case, the patch is a “fix” for the buggy software that invariably caused some loss of data and/or productivity.  But what happens when the error is human error?  Unfortunately there are no “patches” for that, unless you count getting rid of said employee and replacing him/her with someone smarter.  A common cry of helps desk personnel worldwide is PEBKAC! If you forgot what that means then remind yourself at this post on Reducing Help Desk Costs Is a Least Privilege Benefit.

Accidents happen and if you are still providing excessive privileges to your desktop/laptop users or server/network/database/cloud/virtual administrators, then you are at risk of the accidental misuse of privilege.  Sometimes these accidents can cause harm that is newsworthy.  In this instance you not only have to deal with the problems created, but the public fall out that follows from the press and blogosphere.

First you need to eliminate admin rights on windows desktops and root privileges off of servers, then you implement a privilege identity management solution to create a “least privilege” environment such that no one will have enough permission to cause harm if they misuse their privileges.  In this way you can mitigate the severity of potential user stupidity and not have to deal with the help desk crying PEBKAC or fear an unpleasant expose in the Wall St Journal, local paper, wikileaks.com or the blogosphere.

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Additional articles

PowerBroker for Unix & Linux helps prevent Shellshock

Posted September 25, 2014    Paul Harper

Like many other people who tinker with UNIX and Linux on a regular basis, BASH has always been my shell of choice.  Dating back to the early days moving from Windows to a non-Windows platform, mapping the keys correctly to allow easy navigation and control helped ensure an explosion of use for the shell. Unfortunately,…

Bash “Shellshock” Vulnerability – Retina Updates

Posted September 24, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

A major vulnerability was recently discovered within bash which allows arbitrary command execution via specially crafted environment variables. This is possible due to the fact that bash supports the assignment of shell functions to shell variables. When bash parses environment shell functions, it continues parsing even after the closing brace of the function definition. If…

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7 Reasons Customers Switch to Password Safe for Privileged Password Management

Posted September 24, 2014    Chris Burd

It’s clear that privileged password management tools are essential for keeping mission-critical data, servers and assets safe and secure. However, as I discussed in my previous post, there are several pitfalls to look out for when deploying a privileged password management solution. At this point, you may be wondering how BeyondTrust stacks up. With that,…

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