I recently wrote an article for @CloudExpo Journal about why staying on top of privileged accounts should be a priority for organizations. I thought I would share a condensed version of these insights here in the Preempt blog.
Insider threats are on the rise more than ever. It's a malicious activity that originates from users within an organization, as opposed to attacks like DDoS that come from the outside. Cyber hackers of this kind get inside the system to steal intellectual property from the company via user credentials. They can use a variety of techniques like phishing links, password brute force, password scanning, keyloggers and many others to get their foot in the door of the enterprise network.
Once an attacker compromises one employee's account, they attempt lateral movement to gain access to privileged accounts that have elevated access to the network. Many of these attacks go unnoticed for years, as enterprise security teams frequently run short on resources and hardly anyone monitors the activity of privileged accounts.
With good reason, keeping privileged accounts well managed and secured is a major concern for CISOs. Many organizations are busy following up on potential threats and breaches, and privileged accounts often end up on the back burner. Unfortunately, there is a lot of risk involved.
Here are six best practices for keeping privileged accounts secure. To learn more about each of these best practices, including additional details on how Preempt can help you with better managing privileged users, I encourage you to download our new paper on how to Secure Privileged Accounts.
- Keep Track of Privileged Accounts
Privileged accounts can cause serious damage in the wrong hands. Keeping track of privileged accounts and endpoints is the first step towards keeping them secure.
- Review the List and Downgrade Accounts
Users with unnecessary privileged access present a common problem for many enterprise networks that are heavily exploited by cyber attackers. Privileged access means a higher risk of compromising the enterprise network.
- Not all Service Accounts Need Privileged Access
Some of the service accounts that are used by applications required to make changes that only privileged account can be, they can be privileged account but not all service accounts need to be privileged accounts. Service accounts should be carefully review and appropriate access should be provided.
- Don't use the Administrator Account as a Shared Account
In many enterprise networks, the administrator account is used for servicing other accounts or making changes in the network. A shared administrator account should never be used as a service account or otherwise.
- Remove Stale Privileged Accounts
As the IT team grows bigger, security teams should regularly review service accounts and privileged user accounts on a regular basis. If a privileged account is stale, security personnel should review it and disable it if it is not required anymore.
- Change Default Passwords and Enforce Strict Password Rules
Weak passwords are a common culprit that let cyber attackers into enterprise networks or let them gain access to more servers and user accounts by lateral movement. When it comes to passwords, be different and unique – it could make all the difference.