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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

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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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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