How Old Sci-Fi Compares to Today’s RealityFor the new movie documenting Snowden, the facts on his privileged hacks are well documented. Similar movies like the Falcon and the Snowman parallel the espionage techniques but Snowden’s exfiltration of data used relatively modern techniques like thumb drives and privileged accounts verses cameras and microfilm. The intent is the same however – to copy sensitive documents and move them past the physical perimeter of the building. With modern electronics, copying large quantities of data is faster using removable media than a camera one page at a time. It is therefore safe to assume that without the proper security controls to the data, identifying secure data to access, watching when files have been touched, and even when sensitive files are in transit (even by a system administrator like Snowden) a breach like this could occur. It is not to say the NSA systems where void of security controls, but they were inadequate to identify even a trusted insider moving data and using other user’s accounts for inappropriate access. The Snowden could potentially could be a true eye opening documentary and have similar effects on information and security technology that BlackFish had on the amusement park industry and animal activists. Snowden’s activity represents one of the largest security breaches of classified information in United States history. Regardless of whether he is a hero or criminal, the techniques he used to hack the government are very real. The movie attempts to portray them factually and people should take note of the potential weaknesses he exploited. It could happen to their businesses too. How secure are your privileged accounts? If you are interested in benchmarking your privileged access management practices against your peers, download the results of our new Privilege Benchmarking Study today.
Morey J. Haber, Chief Security Officer, BeyondTrust
Morey J. Haber is the Chief Security Officer at BeyondTrust. He has more than 25 years of IT industry experience and has authored three books: Privileged Attack Vectors, Asset Attack Vectors, and Identity Attack Vectors. He is a founding member of the industry group Transparency in Cyber, and in 2020 was elected to the Identity Defined Security Alliance (IDSA) Executive Advisory Board. Morey currently oversees BeyondTrust security and governance for corporate and cloud based solutions and regularly consults for global periodicals and media. He originally joined BeyondTrust in 2012 as a part of the eEye Digital Security acquisition where he served as a Product Owner and Solutions Engineer since 2004. Prior to eEye, he was Beta Development Manager for Computer Associates, Inc. He began his career as Reliability and Maintainability Engineer for a government contractor building flight and training simulators. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.