Is 2015 the year you get a better handle on security? The news last year was grim - so much so, in fact, that many in the information security community despaired a bit. Really, the end-of-the-year infosec cocktail parties were a bit glum. OK, let’s be honest, infosec cocktail parties are usually not that wild anyway, but 2014 was REALLY bad. It felt like all the work we’ve been doing was failing to have any real impact, and the attackers just kept having their way with us.
So, really, what happened? Are all the policies, processes, and technologies we implemented just not working at all? I have a theory on this, truthfully. I think we actually have some great technology today that can help us to solve real problems in security. Likewise, we’ve got at least a semblance of maturity around policy and process in some cases (although we’ve got a long way to go, admittedly). To be honest, I think one of our greatest challenges is getting to the root cause of things. We apply a lot of Band-Aids in our field. As a security consultant, I see this all the time - we have a problem, we come up with a solution or technology that will supposedly solve the problem, and we install it (I’m greatly oversimplifying, of course). What we FAIL to do is identify the real root cause of the problem and tackle THAT. Advanced malware? OK, that blinking sandbox thing will solve it. Network attacks? OK, let’s put in firewalls/IPS/whatever. One problem I routinely see cropping up again and again, however, is excessive allocation of privileges, and likewise, a lack of sound privileged user management and monitoring.
I remember talking about this fervently in 2005. I even did some sort of webcast at the time with SANS with a super-catchy title of “Who’s Watching the Watchers?” (groan). It felt relevant. It felt current. It felt…like it was TIME to get a handle on that problem, especially with the growing pain of insider abuse and fraud that was emerging back then. Fast-forward ten years, and here we are. 2015, and the majority of enterprise organizations I spend time in are still in exactly the same boat. Even as I type this, I am working on a pen test where a local Windows admin account is slowly and inevitably granting me the keys to the kingdom, and to add insult to injury, the password starts with “pass” and ends with “word”. You’d think as a professional penetration tester that I love when this happens…and you’re right. But there’s a gnawing seed of frustration that I can’t shake - we should be better than this.
This could be our year, my friends. Privileged user credential abuse is a big problem, seen all over the place in breaches and incidents. Getting privileged user management under control is tough, but it’s possible. Join me in this upcoming webcast with BeyondTrust to delve into the root of the problem, explore some ugly breaches where privileged user credentials played a role in the attack, and look at some ways to get started in tackling this problem. Let’s cross one off the list this year! Register for this week's webinar here >>
Dave Shackleford, Cybersecurity Expert and Founder of Voodoo Security
Dave Shackleford is the owner and principal consultant of Voodoo Security and a SANS analyst, senior instructor, and course author. He has consulted with hundreds of organizations in the areas of security, regulatory compliance, and network architecture and engineering, and is a VMware vExpert with extensive experience designing and configuring secure virtualized infrastructures. He has previously worked as CSO for Configuresoft, CTO for the Center for Internet Security, and as a security architect, analyst, and manager for several Fortune 500 companies.