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By the Numbers: Parsing the Cybersecurity Challenge
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imispgh
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imispgh,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2017 | 10:44:58 PM
Privileged Account Security - Biggest Dirty Secret in Cyberesecurity
Privileged Account Security – The Giant Dirty Secret in most organizations cybersecurity.  Why isn't it being addressed?  Lack of Courage.

The overwhelming majority of companies and government organizations are avoiding the most critical cyber-security practice of all. Dealing with privileged account security. It's the biggest dirty secret in cybersecurity. Which is extremely unfortunate because virtually every hack on record was accomplished by someone gaining access to a privileged account then moving through the system. This usually occurs due to a successful phishing expedition. (Of which 22% are successful. Keep in mind only one is needed).

Of the small fraction of companies that even deal with this area only 1% of them actually use the products they purchase properly. Said differently – even if a CISO is buying the right things they are not using most of what you paid for. And in most cases they either have no plan to actually use critical features like Password Management, Session Management and Access Monitoring, or are moving so slow it will decades to finish. Often this is meant to purposefully deceive C-Suite and above. This puts everyone at risk.

Here is how bad things are. CMU CERT is the premier authority on cyber-security best practices. Especially for DoD. I found out that CMU CERT has no solution for themselves in this area. They actually defer to CMU IT for their own security and they have no solution in this area. Shouldn't the organization responsible for telling others what best practice is use best practices for its own security?

Why is this happening? These products inadvertently expose several huge best practice gaps. Examples include having 4X more accounts than people, non-encrypted password files or spreadsheets, emails with passwords and software programs with passwords hard coded in them and many not knowing where they all are. And having local admin permissions available on laptops and end points and not knowing where they all are either.

Why don't these folks address this? Because it means pushing the culture to change bad habits and admit to their executives and boards they even existed in the first place. Governing bodies and regulators mean well but they don't help much. This is because the relevant regulations, SOC, HiTrust etc are too trusting and don't specify enough detail. This gives organizations far too much room to wiggle. This all results in most companies and organizations not utilizing best practices or readily available of off the shelf products that can significantly reduce the threat.

This is not a technical issue. It's one of Courage. Courage to admit the root causes exist, To deal with the culture and lead them to fix them. To not sacrifice customers to protect egos or let the bean counters justify it's cheaper to harm customers than the bottom line. 
KristenK
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KristenK,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2017 | 9:51:31 PM
Re: Privileged Account Security - Biggest Dirty Secret in Cyberesecurity
You raise good points. I hope the authors will explore this as a topic more in depth. 
jesternl
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jesternl,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/16/2017 | 2:04:39 PM
Re: Privileged Account Security - Biggest Dirty Secret in Cyberesecurity
There are tools to mitigate this, and an ever growing number of comanies is using them.
My job is to make sure they use ours to the best of their abilities


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