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 Is 2013 going to be the year we see a shift in companies taking decisive action on improving their outdated identity architecture, or just another year where attackers feast on them?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
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-2014-8891
Published: 2015-03-06
Unspecified vulnerability in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in IBM SDK, Java Technology Edition 5.0 before SR16-FP9, 6 before SR16-FP3, 6R1 before SR8-FP3, 7 before SR8-FP10, and 7R1 before SR2-FP10 allows remote attackers to escape the Java sandbox and execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors...

CVE-2014-8892
Published: 2015-03-06
Unspecified vulnerability in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in IBM SDK, Java Technology Edition 5.0 before SR16-FP9, 6 before SR16-FP3, 6R1 before SR8-FP3, 7 before SR8-FP10, and 7R1 before SR2-FP10 allows remote attackers to bypass intended access permissions and obtain sensitive information via un...

CVE-2015-1170
Published: 2015-03-06
The NVIDIA Display Driver R304 before 309.08, R340 before 341.44, R343 before 345.20, and R346 before 347.52 does not properly validate local client impersonation levels when performing a "kernel administrator check," which allows local users to gain administrator privileges via unspecified API call...

CVE-2015-1637
Published: 2015-03-06
Schannel (aka Secure Channel) in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 SP1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 Gold and R2, and Windows RT Gold and 8.1 does not properly restrict TLS state transitions, which makes it easier for r...

CVE-2014-2130
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) provides an unintentional administration web interface based on Apache Tomcat, which allows remote authenticated users to modify application files and configuration files, and consequently execute arbitrary code, by leveraging administrative privileges, aka B...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.