Perimeter
12/18/2012
02:57 PM
Gunnar Peterson
Gunnar Peterson
Commentary
50%
50%

The Identity Cliff

Kicking the can down the road on identity cannot go on forever. Not choosing to deal with improving identity and access architecture is a choice

I make it a point not to discuss politics in this blog, and I expect to continue that policy. But permit me one brief exception, as it relates to an infosec matter.

Without getting into the mechanics or trying to assign blame to one side or the other, it seems clear to me that the current fiscal cliff drama demonstrates a failure of leadership on both sides -- a willingness to play to win rather than to do the right thing for country. Beating the other side has replaced solving problems. The former is mandatory, the latter optional.

Sadly, we have the same state of affairs here in identity. Information security teams regularly draw lines in the sand over what is allowed in the DMZ, agents that do something or other that must be on all desktops, and, of course, demand funding for the latest pizza box. Unfortunately, improving identity and access management is often inadequately staffed and underfunded, and this means more usernames and passwords that then get compromised. Rinse, repeat. Like "leaders" in Washington, D.C., inside information security team making hard choices is a minority sport.

Kicking the can down the road on identity cannot go on forever. Cans kicks back, design debt piles up. Not choosing to deal with improving identity and access architecture is a choice. The outcome of a weak identity architecture leaves you vulnerable to six of the OWASP Top Ten and plenty of other threats besides.

As an industry, we're staring over a cliff of our own making. Decades of suboptimal design tradeoffs and same ol', same ol'. Even the leading-edge progressive companies suffer from insufficient integration, weak authorization management, and how to deal with new technologies like cloud and mobile.

The economist Herb Stein said, "Anything that can't go on forever won't." The present situation of infosec teams looking at strengthening identity as optional is untenable. Is 2013 going to be the year we see a shift in companies taking decisive action on improving their outdated identity architecture, or just another year where attackers feast on them?

Gunnar Peterson is a Managing Principal at Arctec Group Gunnar Peterson (@oneraindrop) works on AppSec - Cloud, Mobile and Identity. He maintains a blog at http://1raindrop.typepad.com. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Latest Comment: nice post
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1750
Published: 2015-07-01
Open redirect vulnerability in nokia-mapsplaces.php in the Nokia Maps & Places plugin 1.6.6 for WordPress allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via a URL in the href parameter to page/place.html. NOTE: this was originally reported as cross-sit...

CVE-2014-1836
Published: 2015-07-01
Absolute path traversal vulnerability in htdocs/libraries/image-editor/image-edit.php in ImpressCMS before 1.3.6 allows remote attackers to delete arbitrary files via a full pathname in the image_path parameter in a cancel action.

CVE-2015-0848
Published: 2015-07-01
Heap-based buffer overflow in libwmf 0.2.8.4 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted BMP image.

CVE-2015-1330
Published: 2015-07-01
unattended-upgrades before 0.86.1 does not properly authenticate packages when the (1) force-confold or (2) force-confnew dpkg options are enabled in the DPkg::Options::* apt configuration, which allows remote man-in-the-middle attackers to upload and execute arbitrary packages via unspecified vecto...

CVE-2015-1950
Published: 2015-07-01
IBM PowerVC Standard Edition 1.2.2.1 through 1.2.2.2 does not require authentication for access to the Python interpreter with nova credentials, which allows KVM guest OS users to discover certain PowerVC credentials and bypass intended access restrictions via unspecified Python code.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Marc Spitler, co-author of the Verizon DBIR will share some of the lesser-known but most intriguing tidbits from the massive report