In recent years, we’ve witnessed a series of devastating data breaches affecting some of the world's most renowned businesses. Each breach inflicts staggering costs in terms of financial and reputational damage.

But what you may not know is that many of these breaches began when a cyberattack exploited a single, unsecured privileged account. Large organizations typically have thousands of privileged accounts. And they’re often left unmanaged. Rogue insiders, former employees, criminal hackers and state-sponsored attackers can exploit these unmanaged privileged accounts. They can then anonymously access and extract your organization’s most critical data.

You need to ensure that your organization’s privileged accounts are secure and all credentials for these powerful accounts are continuously updated. And that starts by knowing how privileged accounts are attacked.

Here are six of the most common privileged account attack vectors:

Once Privileged Access is Obtained

Once a hacker accesses a privileged credential through one of these internal or external attack vectors, he can use that credential to leapfrog from system to system. He can then map the IT infrastructure and extract valuable information at will.

Securing Privileged Accounts

With an automated privileged access management solution you can locate privileged accounts throughout the enterprise, provide them with unique, complex and regularly updated credentials, and audit access to them.

This means that even if one privileged password is stolen by a hacker, his access is time-limited and can’t spread beyond that single account. Thus ensuring that your critical IT assets remain locked down.

Want to learn more? Start by downloading our free Discovery Tool to get a report about unsecured service accounts, Active Directory domain accounts, and local administrator accounts on your network.