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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

WikiLeaks: The Disease or the Symptom?

Post by Peter McCalister December 7, 2010

How much press will we have to endure on the significant problems created by WikiLeaks and the public lynching of those who perpetrate these leaks before we realize that if you give someone an inch (excessive admin rights) they will take a mile (misuse that privilege)?

To use a metaphor: If I sneeze, will you give me a tissue and send me on my way?  Will you give me cold medicine?  How about allergy medicine?  Without knowing the cause, “the disease“, then reacting to the sneeze, “the symptom“, will ultimately result in a response that may be over-kill or under-kill.

Some journalists do get it.  Mike Martin at TechNewsWorld published an insighful story titled WikiLeaks Wrangling May Be Escalating Into Cyberwar.  He rightly points out that “the Wikileaks controversary could be devolving into a wiki-war.”

So why is it that every journalist seems to be focused on the symptom, “the leak”, instead of the disease, the “intentional misuse of privilege” caused by “excess admin rights”?

Implemening a privilege identity management solution and eliminating admin rights from servers, desktops, network devices, virtual servers and cloud environments is a strong move in the right direction to ensure that everyone in your organizaton only has access to what they should have based on corporate policy, thus ensureing governance and regulatory compliance and limiting to potential for other “leaks” from your organization.

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