One of most talked about topics at the just completed Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit in San Diego was advanced persistent threats. While it may be hard to define, and I will leave that to the experts at Gartner, based on the level of discussion at the event and all the available data this is a topic you will get to know in the near future.
From Sony to RSA the frequency and sophistication of attacks on your critical IT infrastructure are increasing dramatically. With the rapid changes in technology from desktop and server virtualization to the increasing use of SAAS and public, private and hybrid clouds the old perimeter based model is no longer sufficient. Any weakness in your infrastructure that allows an attacker to access a system will give him or her opportunity to find another weakness and eventually get to the keys to the kingdom – privileged access to a critical server or database with sensitive information.
What’s needed is a comprehensive program to protect privileged access. The tradeoffs everyone has historically made to allow some level of risk no longer apply. Even something as simple as the accidental misconfiguration of a desktop PC can be the weakness a sophisticated attacker uses to gain the access they need to the privileged credentials of a systems or database admin.
There are no excuses any more. Even if you can’t define it you better beware or you will know at lot more about these threats when you see it in your environment.