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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

Dark Reading

2014: The Year of Privilege Vulnerabilities

Posted December 18, 2014    Chris Burd

Of the 30 critical-rated Microsoft Security Bulletins this year, 24 involved vulnerabilities where the age-old best practice of “least privilege” could limit the impact of malware and raise the bar of difficulty for attackers.

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Looking back on information security in 2014

Posted December 16, 2014    Dave Shackleford

Dave Shackleford is a SANS Instructor and founder of Voodoo Security. Join Dave for a closer look at the year in security, and learn what you can do to prepare for 2015, with this upcoming webinar. 2014 has been one heck of an insane year for information security professionals. To start with, we’ve been forced…

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December 2014 Patch Tuesday

Posted December 9, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This month marks the final Patch Tuesday of 2014. Most of what is being patched this month includes Internet Explorer, Exchange, Office, etc… and continues a trend of the greatest hits collection of commonly attacked Microsoft software. Probably the one thing that broke the mold this month is that for once there is not some…

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