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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.

When Misuse Of Privilege Is Priceless

Posted June 29, 2011    Peter McCalister

Sometimes the abuse of IT admin power doesn’t involve a price tag. Take for instance, Walter Powell, a disgruntled IT manager who hacked his former employer’s computer and replaced the CEO’s digital presentation to instead display a lewd pornographic image on the 64-inch screen that the CEO was presenting to his board of directors. While we have documented extensively the costs that this kind of calculated attack can cost an organization, in this case, the cost could almost seem priceless.

IT administrators have unlimited access to a company’s most valuable assets: sensitive corporate information, critical hardware, data and database management systems. The damage they can wreak is almost limitless.

Although this latest incident ranks on the extreme (geeky) side of fired employee retaliation, it brings up the important point of monitoring highly privileged users. These are the users that have the ability to cause the most damage, yet they are often the most difficult to watch and control. IT security teams have a tough time tackling this problem.

Actively monitoring these privileged userscan offer much needed visibility into who is accessing corporate data and what they’re doing with it. To do this effectively, organizations must carefully log user activity and track policy violations. For an overburdened IT staff, this can look like a complex and daunting task. But it shouldn’t be.

Allowing any employee unfettered access to all company assets is both unnecessary and dangerous. Implementation of a privilege identity management solution enables IT admins to continue to access the applications required to do their jobs effectively without unnecessarily putting the organization at added risk…and embarrassment.

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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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