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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.

Think You’re Safe from Internal Threats? The NSA Breach Will Make You Think Twice.

Posted June 13, 2013    Rod Simmons

When reading a recent article in the USA Today about how Edward Snowden, a former Booz Allen Hamilton employee and NSA contractor, was able to steal sensitive data via non-specific vectors, I was reminded of the illusion that threats are predominately external to organizations. Even though we might not know exactly how Snowden was able to access sensitive information, we do know that internal threats are as considerable a problem as external threats.  Tools like PowerBroker Unix & Linux, PowerBroker for Windows, PowerBroker PasswordSafe and/or PowerBroker Database help mitigate privilege related risk. We recently did a webinar on How to Manage and Secure Privileged Accounts, which highlights the technical and business challenges organization are faced with as they try to control access to sensitive data.

There is nothing technically savvy about taking advantages of a company’s inability to recognize the importance of privileged accounts. Organization need to do an internal audit and ask themselves:

  • Do we need a better way to manage our privileged accounts?
  • Should some accounts be put into a password safe and require workflow approval for access?
  • Should we delegate using a policy of what, when, where, and under what conditions people can do without exposing the root password?
  • Should we audit and report on all database activities?

If you did not know, the only right answer to these questions is “yes”.

At the end of the day, you have to trust your employees and contractors. Given the NSA likely does better background checks than any organization, some things cannot be avoided. However, that does not mean you can ignore the importance of securing your organization starting with privileged accounts, along with proactive vulnerability assessment and prioritized patching.

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Additional articles

Are Your Data Security Efforts Focused in the Right Area?

Posted January 28, 2015    Scott Lang

Vormetric Data Security recently released an insider threat report, with research conducted by HarrisPoll and analyzed by Ovum. Based on the survey responses, it is apparent that there is still a great deal of insecurity over data. However, the results also show that there may be misplaced investments to address those insecurities. I will explain…

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GHOST Vulnerability…Scary Indeed

Posted January 28, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

A vulnerability discovered by Qualys security researchers has surfaced within the GNU C Library that affects virtually all Linux operating systems. The vulnerability lies within the various gethostbyname*() functions and, as such, has been dubbed “GHOST.” GHOST is particularly nasty considering remote, arbitrary code execution can be achieved. In an effort to avoid taxing DNS lookups, glibc developers introduced…

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Your New Years Resolution: Controlling Privileged Users

Posted January 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Is 2015 the year you get a better handle on security? The news last year was grim – so much so, in fact, that many in the information security community despaired a bit. Really, the end-of-the-year infosec cocktail parties were a bit glum. OK, let’s be honest, infosec cocktail parties are usually not that wild…

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