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Top 10 Reasons Good People Do Bad Things Without Least Privilege

Posted March 23, 2011    Peter McCalister

In the spirit of keeping blog posts informative, short and fun, this one takes a cue from David Letterman in format. So without further fanfare or wasted space… the Top 10 Reasons Good People Do Bad Things Without Least Privilege are:

#10 – Michelle, the CEO’s Exec Admin leaves her current password list on a yellow sticky note taped to the bottom of her keyboard.

#9 – Fred, the Rochester Linux admin “loaned” his root credentials to another admin because he was late for a dentist appointment and the server needed to be rebooted.

#8 – Ted in Tech Support reset file and directory permissions on a mission critical Linux server to make his data migration project go smoother but in the process also gave access to sensitive data to the entire company.

#7 – Sid in Development downloaded a couple of neat Apache applications and a few other unauthorized open source “tools” injecting malware into our corporate network.

#6 – Fiona the Secretary completely cratered her PC configuration while trying to upgrade an application by accidentally “fat fingering” the wrong ip address causing her to lose two days of productivity while IT reimaged her machine.

#5 – Bob the VP of Marketing now adds 220GB of personal data to the nightly backups as his entire iTunes library of 23,000 songs and 15 movies were put onto his corporate laptop.

#4 – Alice in IT seems to bring down the entire network backbone every time she has a DNS misconfiguration error which seems to happen more often than not.

#3 – Fred in IT installed a Trojan on the mission critical server, bringing it down for 4 hours and costing the company over $1M in lost transactions, because he was passed over for a big promotion.

#2 – Sarah, the CIO “hides” all of the Linux root credentials (which are changed weekly) in a sealed envelope in the bottom draw of her desk and has to deal with a manual check in/check out process, but everyone know where she keeps the list.

#1 – A member of the group known as “anonymous” overheard a systems admin bragging over a Palo Alto lunch how no one would ever figure out his password was “talkingninjamonkey2” after his favorite video game avatar.


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