Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sysadmin security fail: NSA finds Snowden hijacked officials’ logins

Some or all of this trouble could have been avoided if the NSA had followed its own playbook a bit more closely and used administrative and security best practices that are common across government, the financial industry, and other networks where access control auditing and the non-repudiation of data are mandated by laws, regulations, and the nature of the business. Giving an administrator the ability to gain access to user credentials—and the log systems that monitor changes to those credentials—is a classic bad move in network security. As Oracle points out in its documentation for its Enterprise Manager administration tool, "Giving the same level of access to all systems to all administrators is dangerous." In most sensitive enterprise systems, administrators' access powers are limited to very specific roles to prevent giving them the power to compromise multiple systems, making it more difficult for an insider to attack systems and cover his or her tracks.

|| David K. Shepherd ||

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