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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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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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The Vulnerabilities and Privileges of Carbanak Bank Thieves

Posted February 17, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Recently Kaspersky released analysis of a series of significant breaches against financial institutions by a group they have dubbed Carbanak. The attacks go back over 2 years and estimates are that potentially $1 billion dollars in total were stolen from more than 100 financial institutions. In some cases the attackers were active in victim organizations between…

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