Vulnerabilities / Threats

10/30/2017
10:30 AM
Rinki Sethi
Rinki Sethi
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
100%
0%

Preventing Credential Theft: A Security Checklist for Boards

Board members pose a unique risk for business, but proper planning helps.

Within any organization, certain employees have access to information that could tip the scales of risk for the business. If a cybercriminal were to gain access to a company's most sensitive information through stealing credentials from one of these employees, the business could face serious financial and reputational repercussions. Board members, though typically not employees, are included in this group of vulnerable targets for two key reasons:

  • They possess materially important data. Board members have access to information that is materially important to the business; yet because they typically aren't employees of the business, they don't go through the same security training or have company-issued devices. Consequentially, they may not have the same level of security on those devices to protect the sensitive data they access.
  • They have an ability to influence. Often a hacker will impersonate an executive when sending a phishing lure to intended victims. Given the role and influence of board members, it's likely that a recipient will pay attention to a phishing email if it appears to be sent by one of them. Although this makes board members especially valuable to cybercriminals, it also puts them in a prime position to set the tone for security and ensure that organizations are taking the right steps toward preventing credential theft.

Credential Theft Prevention Checklist
According to the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Report, 81% of hacking-related breaches leveraged either stolen and/or weak passwords, up from 63% reported in prior years. Given that credential theft is the most common element across cyberattacks, it's no longer an option to delay conversations with security leaders on the topic. To be proactive, board members should reference this checklist:

Understand how data is accessed. As a first step, boards should ask themselves the following questions:

•  What is the value of the information to which we have access?

•  How are we getting access to that information?

•  How is that information protected?

•  Given the sensitivity of the information, do we think it is protected enough?

After going through this exercise themselves, they can pose these same questions throughout the organization to ensure that employees with access to the most sensitive data are properly protected.  

Ask about multifactor authentication. Passwords alone are never enough. A practical example of multifactor authentication is withdrawing money from an ATM. Banks always require both a card and a password, and it's hard to imagine a world where only one of these requirements would be needed. The same concept should apply to accessing data, making it important to ask:

•  How does the company ensure that, when someone authenticates, it authenticates who they really are? 

Be familiar with the company's overarching information security strategy. Credential theft is one tactic cybercriminals use, and how a company addresses this is part of its overarching cybersecurity strategy. Conversations about this strategy should include questions like:

•  Has the company invested in cybersecurity training for its employees? Familiarity with what a creative phishing lure looks like should be part of a larger cybersecurity awareness program about credential theft. 

•  What kind of technology is the company investing in to prevent not only credential theft-based attacks but also other types of cyberattacks? 

Board members are in a unique position as highly influential leaders — and as potential victims — to keep the scales of business risk steady. When thinking critically about the significance of credential theft, they can ensure they are doing their part to prevent successful cyberattacks by avoiding falling victim themselves.

Related Content:

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

 

Rinki Sethi is Senior Director of Security Operations and Strategy at Palo Alto Networks. She is responsible for building a world-class security operations center that includes capabilities such as threat management, security monitoring, and threat intelligence. Rinki is also ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
cybersavior
50%
50%
cybersavior,
User Rank: Strategist
10/30/2017 | 5:15:43 PM
Thanks for the article
It's my experience that the "senior execs" or "Board" are the very users that bring the most sense of entitlement to IT/IS.  You know, she wants her email address to just be Renee*AT*megacorp.com, he wants to use his Mac or iPad that isn't supported or get this... A CEO at a major, global corporation that requested thier spouse (not an employee) be given remote access and Outlook email delegation from a non-company asset.  That truely happened, AND that company has regulated messaging!  Digital communications subject to SEC 17a-4.

It really puts our technology and security practitioners between the hammer and the anvil when senior leaders demand unsupported and/or non-compliant configurations.  It represents audit jeopardy and lowers the security posture of the firm.  The Board will be the most resistant users to 'security overhead' such as the Checklist and the target on their CISO's back enlarges.
WSJ Report: Facebook Breach the Work of Spammers, Not Nation-State Actors
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  10/19/2018
6 Security Trends for 2018/2019
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  10/15/2018
6 Reasons Why Employees Violate Security Policies
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading,  10/16/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
The Risk Management Struggle
The Risk Management Struggle
The majority of organizations are struggling to implement a risk-based approach to security even though risk reduction has become the primary metric for measuring the effectiveness of enterprise security strategies. Read the report and get more details today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-10839
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Qemu emulator <= 3.0.0 built with the NE2000 NIC emulation support is vulnerable to an integer overflow, which could lead to buffer overflow issue. It could occur when receiving packets over the network. A user inside guest could use this flaw to crash the Qemu process resulting in DoS.
CVE-2018-13399
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
The Microsoft Windows Installer for Atlassian Fisheye and Crucible before version 4.6.1 allows local attackers to escalate privileges because of weak permissions on the installation directory.
CVE-2018-18381
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Z-BlogPHP 1.5.2.1935 (Zero) has a stored XSS Vulnerability in zb_system/function/c_system_admin.php via the Content-Type header during the uploading of image attachments.
CVE-2018-18382
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Advanced HRM 1.6 allows Remote Code Execution via PHP code in a .php file to the user/update-user-avatar URI, which can be accessed through an "Update Profile" "Change Picture" (aka user/edit-profile) action.
CVE-2018-18374
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
XSS exists in the MetInfo 6.1.2 admin/index.php page via the anyid parameter.