Risk
9/2/2010
01:44 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

9 Steps To Enabling Remote Access, Safely

Security goes beyond encryption, authentication, and monitoring employees. We also need to ensure privileged users aren't betraying trust. Here's how.

As remote workers become more commonplace, their connections represent an increasingly vexing risk factor. For respondents to our InformationWeek Analytics 2010 Strategic Security Survey who said their companies are more vulnerable now than in 2009, 66% cited as the reason more ways to attack corporate networks, including wireless. Yet IT must ensure mobile workers have the access they need to be productive.

Here's one angle CIOs often overlook: Providing this level of 24/7 support translates to a lot of people with high access privileges working remotely--not just business users, but IT support staff as well.

Most of us have no choice but to open systems to the outside world. The challenge is to do so in a measured fashion, and in a way that allows you to track and audit access while protecting data. Here's our hit list of the top nine dangers that come with unfettered remote access, along with mitigation tips for each.

1| Danger: Running afoul of regulations Mitigation: Document the corporate data and intellectual property that you must protect

This exercise is basic--and vital. You can't even begin to audit and protect your organization's data until you know where all the important stuff resides. The results of a data discovery process can be leveraged across many different projects, including compliance, risk assessment, and data loss prevention (DLP) initiatives.

2| Danger: You can't easily correlate account activity and usage Mitigation: Rein in your account and password policy

Want an eye opener? Ask for a report on the number of general accounts in your directory services infrastructure. We're talking about those accounts called "Support" or "Payroll"--you know, the ones all 5,000 company employees seem to know the passwords to. If you're using general-purpose accounts for any authentication activities without carefully controlling access rights, you're playing Russian roulette. To the degree you can, eliminate them.

And while you're cracking down on anonymous accounts, give some thought to your password policy. Implementing strong passwords is arguably the easiest mitigation task on our list to execute. Sure, it might also be the one that generates the most hate mail to IT, but there's no getting around the fact that you can't let users select "password."

InformationWeek: September 6, 2010 Issue To read the rest of the article, download a free PDF of InformationWeek magazine
(registration required)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Must Reads - September 25, 2014
Dark Reading's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of identity and access management. Learn about access control in the age of HTML5, how to improve authentication, why Active Directory is dead, and more.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2003-1598
Published: 2014-10-01
SQL injection vulnerability in log.header.php in WordPress 0.7 and earlier allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the posts variable.

CVE-2011-4624
Published: 2014-10-01
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in facebook.php in the GRAND FlAGallery plugin (flash-album-gallery) before 1.57 for WordPress allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the i parameter.

CVE-2012-0811
Published: 2014-10-01
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Postfix Admin (aka postfixadmin) before 2.3.5 allow remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary SQL commands via (1) the pw parameter to the pacrypt function, when mysql_encrypt is configured, or (2) unspecified vectors that are used in backup files gene...

CVE-2014-2640
Published: 2014-10-01
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in HP System Management Homepage (SMH) before 7.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-2641
Published: 2014-10-01
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in HP System Management Homepage (SMH) before 7.4 allows remote authenticated users to hijack the authentication of unspecified victims via unknown vectors.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Chris Hadnagy, who hosts the annual Social Engineering Capture the Flag Contest at DEF CON, will discuss the latest trends attackers are using.