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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

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Adobe Patches Zero-Day Flaw Being Exploited in the Wild

Posted January 22, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Earlier this week, French malware researcher Kafeine reported on a new Adobe Flash zero-day vulnerability that was being exploited in the wild using the latest versions of the Angler Exploit Toolkit. “Any version of Internet Explorer or Firefox with any version of Windows will get owned if Flash up to 16.0.0.287 (included) is installed and enabled”…

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Your Data Security Strategy Starts with Deploying a Least Privilege Model (part 2 of 2)

Posted January 22, 2015    Scott Lang

In last week’s blog, we talked about how controls and accountability must be put into place so that only the right folks can access data and the systems on which that data resides, and that employing a least privilege model helps to achieve that and more. We’re using conclusions and data from a recent report…

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Basic Blocking and Tackling for Defending Against Advanced Targeted Attacks

Posted January 22, 2015    Larry Brock

With football season at its pinnacle at both the college and professional levels, the best teams continually focus on the fundamentals that make them successful. In security, we need to do the same.  It is okay for us to have a few key plays, especially in certain industries where we have to focus on unique…

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