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Hackers: Privileged Accounts Provide Fastest Access to Sensitive, Critical Data

Nearly 75 percent state traditional perimeter security firewalls and antivirus are now irrelevant or obsolete.

Washington, D.C. — Thycotic, a provider of privileged account management (PAM) solutions for more than 7,500 organizations worldwide, today released the findings from its 2017 Black Hat conducted survey of more than 250 hackers. The survey was conducted in order to get a hacker’s perspective on what works and doesn’t work when it comes to protecting critical data. According to the survey, nearly one third (32 percent) of respondents state that accessing privileged accounts was the number one choice for the easiest and fastest way to get access to critical data, followed closely by 27 percent indicating access to user email accounts was the easiest path to disclosing sensitive data.

The focus on hacking privileged and email accounts reflects a recognition on the part of hackers that traditional perimeter security is no longer an effective barrier to getting inside networks and gaining access to critical data. Findings from the survey indicate that 73 percent of hackers believe traditional security perimeter of firewalls and antivirus are irrelevant or obsolete.

“Given that privileged accounts are prime targets for hackers, IT professionals should consider the opinions of the hackers themselves when it comes to protecting privileged accounts,” said Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist, Thycotic. “In today’s connected world, organizations can no longer rely only on the traditional cybersecurity perimeter controls. The new cybersecurity perimeter must incorporate an identity firewall built around employee and data using Identity and Access Management technology controls which emphasizes the protection of privileged account credentials and enhancing user passwords across the enterprise with multi-factor authentication.”

Additionally, 85 percent of respondents blame humans for security breaches, more so than the lack of security or unpatched software.

“With traditional perimeter security technologies considered largely irrelevant, hackers are focusing more on gaining access to privileged accounts and email passwords by exploiting human vulnerabilities allowing the hacker to gain access abusing trusted identities,” noted Carson. “More than ever, it is critical for businesses to mitigate these risks by implementing the right technologies and process to ward off unsuspecting attacks and access to sensitive data.”

Findings from the survey also concluded that:

  • More than a third of respondents (35 percent) claim remembering and changing passwords is the top source of cybersecurity fatigue.
  • Hackers state that multi-factor authentication (38 percent) and encryption (32 percent) are their biggest obstacles.
  • Hackers view Threat Intelligence solutions as one of the least effective security protections, along with reputation feeds and education/awareness.

To download the report and view the full survey results and findings from Thycotic’s 2017 Black Hat Survey, please visit http://bit.ly/2vC6U6n. To learn more about Thycotic, please visit the company’s website and follow Thycotic on Twitter at @Thycotic.

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