Accident Prone Annie Unintentionally Helps Hacker

BeyondTrust, December 13th, 2011

Marriott International Corporation became the latest victim to an interesting twist on an insider attack. According to Dark Reading, a prospective employee named Attila Nemeth, “pilfered sensitive documents from the hotel chain and then attempted to use the stolen intelligence to blackmail it for employment.”

Who would think that blackmailing a potential employer would lead to being hired? The good news is that Nemeth’s attempt clearly showed Marriott that he would not be good fit for a position at their company – especially in the IT department.

This story also highlights, yet again, the antics of Accident Prone Annie. Annie is your typical business user who may be misusing their privileges to do things that are against corporate policy (i.e. downloading software off the web or upgrading applications before IT approves) and wreaking havoc on the help desk. Nemeth was able to access the network by tricking a Marriot employee into opening an infected document or link that installed a backdoor on Marriott’s systems.

Accidental misuse of privilege is commonplace throughout many organizations. Why? Because human nature dictates that we will make mistakes and if your employees are over privileged on their IT resources then that can lead to costly mistakes. This is why we are constantly pushing to implement least privilege solutions: because good people can do bad things intentionally, accidentally and indirectly.