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For Top Cyber Threats, Look in the Mirror

Transformation Network

By pwsadmin | May 15, 2021

The Achilles heel of every transformative business model is their reliance on ever increasing amounts of data that need to be transported quickly across wide area networks and processed at edge computing end points. To meet this expected demand, the global telecommunications industry is rapidly moving toward a future in which networks must have the…

Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing as Digital Transformation

By pwsadmin | May 15, 2021

Hybrid IT blends traditional datacenters, managed service providers, and cloud service providers to deliver the necessary mix of information technology services. This IT consumption model enables a composable infrastructure which describes a framework whose physical compute, storage, and network fabric resources are treated as services. Resources are logically pooled so that administrators no longer need…

Transformation Innovation

By pwsadmin | May 15, 2021

4 Factors Driving Digital Transformation ROI The critical assessment factors for cloud ROI risk probability are the following:      Infrastructure utilization Speed of migration to cloud Ability to scale business/mission processes Quality delivered by the new cloud-based process  These four factors directly drive digital transformation ROI because they affect revenue, cost, and the time required to…

Transformation Frameworks

By pwsadmin | May 15, 2021

Digital transformation necessitates changes in an organization’s operational processes. According to Harvard, a focus on operations can lead to business process optimization and entirely new revenue streams. Three common routes for this are the following:      Robotic process automation (RPA) which uses artificial intelligence to automate routine activities      Remote worker enablement that uses workspace virtualization and…

Transformation Infrastructure

By pwsadmin | September 26, 2020

Hybrid IT enables a composable infrastructure which describes a framework whose physical compute, storage, and network fabric resources are treated as services. Resources are logically pooled so that administrators need to physically configure hardware to support a specific software application, which describes the function of a composable architecture. This type of transformative infrastructure is foundational…

Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing as Digital Transformation

By pwsadmin | September 25, 2020

A survey of 2,000 executives conducted by Cognizant in 2016 identified the top five ways digital transformations generate value:      Accelerating speed to market      Strengthening competitive positioning      Boosting revenue growth      Raising employee productivity      Expanding the ability to acquire, engage, and retain customers   Digital transformation is also a cultural change. Cloud Computing as Digital Transformation Since cloud…

Embrace Transformation

By pwsadmin | September 22, 2020

From a business perspective, differentiating business processes and quality customer service are central to overall success. Business leaders must therefore clearly identify and measure how information technology contributes to the value of every key business process. They must also know how to most cost effectively use IT when the task is merely the management of…

Computer Vision Advances Zero-Defect Manufacturing

By pwsadmin | July 25, 2020

by Kevin L. Jackson Electronics manufacturers operate in a challenging environment. It’s hard enough to keep up with the ever-accelerating rate of change in the industry. Now customers want increasingly specialized product variations in less time and of higher quality. Meeting this demand for increased product variation can seriously impact the bottom line. Such variability increases…

Real-Time Analytics Power the Roadway of the Future

By pwsadmin | July 25, 2020

By Kevin L. Jackson The complexities of citywide traffic are pushing the limits of existing transportation management systems. Outdated infrastructure is based on proprietary, single-purpose subsystems, making it costly to acquire, operate, and maintain. And current roadways are simply not prepared for the future of autonomous vehicles. Enter the SPaT Challenge, an initiative encouraging cities and…

Thriving on the Edge: Developing CSP Edge Computing Strategy

By pwsadmin | March 6, 2020

Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are facing significant business model challenges. Referred to generally as edge computing, the possibilities introduced by the blending of 5G networks and distributed cloud computing technologies are redefining how CSPs operate, partner, and drive revenue. A new Ericsson Digital whitepaper entitled, “Edge computing and deployment strategies for communication service providers,” addresses these challenges…

A recent report by Praetorian, a cybersecurity company headquartered in Austin, TX, focused on threats that resulted in data compromise or access to sensitive information. Based on a review of 100 separate internal penetration test engagements the study identified the five most prevalent threats to corporate data.  The amazing thing about these weaknesses is that the top four are all based on utilizing stolen credentials and the last one helps an attacker be more effective in using those stolen credentials.  In other words, the enemy is right there in the mirror!  The study spanned 75 unique organizations and only focused on security weaknesses that were used to obtain a full network compromise.

Where are your pain points?

The most prevalent threat is something we’ve all heard of before – Weak Domain User Passwords.  Since most corporate environments use Microsoft’s Active Directory to manage employee accounts and access, it needs some improvements in order to fully address complex passwords. Since Active Directory only requires passwords to be a specific length and contain specific character sets so addressing this weakness will require the use of third-party software.

The next most common corporate threat is Broadcast Name Resolution Poisoning.  Using this vector, an attacker responds to broadcast requests (i.e. LLMNR, NetBIOS, MDNS, etc) by providing its own IP.  When this is done, the credentials of a user accessing network resources can be instead transmitted to the attacker’s system.
The next big no-no is when system administrators all use the same Local Admin password. If an attacker is able to compromise the LM/NT hash representation of the password, then the attacker can use the hash to authenticate and execute commands on other systems that have the same password.  Using the hash, an attacker doesn’t need the actual password at all!
Microsoft Windows operating systems have another embedded password weakness.  Believe it or not, the operating system stores domain credentials in cleartext within memory of the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS) process.  Although this weakness requires an attacker to have Local Admin or SYSTEM-level access, it ranks high on the threat list.
This last threat enhances all of the other – Insufficient Network Access Controls. Many organizations don’t restrict network access based on business requirements.  This will enable unfettered attacker mobility after only a single system on the internal network has been compromised.
These threat vectors, last updated by Praetorian in June 2016, were evaluated as part of a complete corporate network compromise kill chain.  They also highlight the importance of understanding the cybersecurity threat.  Although the mirror is a good place to start improving on network security, you must also work to identify all your organization’s security pain points.  With that knowledge you can more effectively enhance your team’s defenses and eventually evolve towards a better understanding of your security threat environment.
If you are serious about protecting your data, download the full report and read about the effective strategies your company can use to protect itself.  If you are a CISO or corporate executives, IBM also provides some excellent information on how to secure the C-suite.  They also provide an interactive toolthat can help better analyze your threats, protect your users and save your data from these and many other security challenges.

This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit Point B and Beyond.

Cloud Musings

( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS – © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2016)

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