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Privileged account management critical to data security
This article is part of the Information Security magazine issue of July/August 2009
In the wrong hands, privileged accounts represent the biggest threat to enterprises because these accounts can breach personal data, complete unauthorized transactions, cause denial-of-service attacks, and hide activity by deleting audit data. Privileged accounts, such as the UNIX root, Windows Administrator accounts or accounts associated with database ownership and router access, are required for platforms to function. Moreover, they are required for "break the glass" emergency access scenarios as well as more mundane day-to-day tasks. While important, they are notoriously difficult to secure because they don't belong to real users and are usually shared by many administrators Yet a down economy increases the risk of disgruntled workers, making it more important than ever to have a system in place to control privileged access. What's more, control of privileged accounts is at the top of the auditor's findings list, and is an essential component of compliance mandates associated with Sarbanes-Oxley, the Payment Card Industry ...
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Features in this issue
While the 3FN.Net shutdown had limited impact on cybercriminals, it signaled that the private sector and the government are serious about illegal activity.
Regulatory requirements and economic realities are pressuring enterprises to secure their privileged accounts.
DNSSEC brings PKI to the Domain Name System and prevents dangerous cache poisoning attacks. Implementation difficulties and political battles, however, keep it from going mainstream.
Unified threat management (UTM) appliances offer consolidated security services in a single, manageable firewall/VPN appliance. But purchase and use only the security options you need. Otherwise you will pay too much for the appliance and for tools that won't make your business more secure
Columns in this issue
Security's leading thinkers ask Google to turn on HTTPS by default for Gmail, Docs and Calendar.
Data protection and compliance teams battle for resources but need each other to succeed.