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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.

Who is To Blame When An Insider Breach Occurs?

Posted February 6, 2012    Peter McCalister

As I’ve waded through the hundreds of published insider breaches from just the last two years, what was a clear recurring theme was that of the vagaries of human nature. Not meaning to wax poetic, but it was always an individual who misused their own, or some other insider’s, privileged access authorizations to IT systems to their own devices and/or gains.

That begs two questions:

What sets these people on their path to misuse of privilege?
Are they personally responsible or is the organization’s lack of controls partially responsible as well?

As I have pointed out many times—at the intersection of people, processes, and technology that make up the engine of modern business—it’s human nature that is the weakest link. And, all too often, it’s the tendency of almost the entire IT industry—vendors, analysts, and press—to ignore this.

Put another way, you can’t rely on everyone being a saint or competent all of the time. It’s not just malicious malcontents intent on destroying the system who can cause havoc, but also the negligent, misinformed, and down-right nosey who can compromise sensitive data. In all cases, it’s more often than not the case that such people have way too much privilege access— admin rights on the desktop, root password on the server—for the role they are required to play.

Indeed, when technology is to blame, it’s not always the technology company’s use; it’s the failure to recognize the importance of technology, such as privileged identity management (PIM) systems, which can restrain over-privileged users without hampering productivity, which is at fault. With increasing costs arising from data breaches, including cleanup costs, as well as customer churn due to diminished trust, it makes sense not to rely on trust alone when it comes to employee and third-party access to sensitive data.

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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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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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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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