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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

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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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Privileged Passwords: The Bane of Security Professionals Everywhere

Posted February 19, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Passwords have been with us since ancient times. Known as “watchwords”, ancient Roman military guards would pass a wooden tablet with a daily secret word engraved from one shift to the next, with each guard position marking the tablet to indicate it had been received. The military has been using passwords, counter-passwords, and even sound…

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Privileged Account Management Process

In Vulnerability Management, Process is King

Posted February 18, 2015    Morey Haber

You have a vulnerability scanner, but where’s your process? Most organizations are rightly concerned about possible vulnerabilities in their systems, applications, networked devices, and other digital assets and infrastructure components. Identifying vulnerabilities is indeed important, and most security professionals have some kind of scanning solution in place. But what is most essential to understand is…

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