Sensitive Data – Privileged Acccess Abuse

19.07.2021 03:11

There are many ways to secure your client’s sensitive data and many network infrastructures designs that can support sound security principles. For example, as an administrator, understanding how the data traffic flows and where the data is stored would be in your most interest. Acknowledging the data and its vulnerabilities would help to establish security risk (threat) protocols.
Another way to secure sensitive data is to encrypt all traffic within your network or secure the traffic with specialized tools, software, or layers of security procedures. Encrypting sensitive data is an essential step to secure information. These factors are of the essence when working remotely or with cloud-based networks.

Another example to secure client-sensitive data is educating your employees regarding cybersecurity, vulnerability, and sensitive data protection. Human error is often known as one of the exploits used within companies, especially amongst the security community. Ensuring employees follow compliance regulations and security policies decreases the chances of sensitive data exposure by anyone from the outside or inside.

However, is it all enough? Several security layers and prevention protocols may not be enough, whether by applying VPN connection, creating strict firewall policies, creating honeycombs, or adding proxies to your infrastructure. Companies still are exposed, however, not by external factors but rather by internal. In the case of Facebook, this was just the case.

A Facebook employee contracted as an engineer used his privileged access to gather sensitive and private information of a woman he had spent the vacation with. The employee, who was not named, could track down the woman’s geo-location and pinpoint her area to a hotel she was staying in. Being a well-respected company at its core, Facebook has secured itself from external attacks and set up internal policies. Yet, in the example above, we can see that sensitive data can be manipulated or exposed when abused by privileged users.

A similar case of an internal employee threat was when yet another Facebook engineer used his privileged access to dig up sensitive information on a woman he had gone on a date with after she had stopped responding to his messages. The engineer had access to private conversations, deleted photographs, as well as her location in real-time.

Facebook reacted by firing its employees, who were found and accused of accessing user data for non-business purposes. Additionally, they stated they have continued strengthening their employee training, abuse detection, and prevention protocols. However, is this enough?
With large corporations like Facebook, around 16,000 employees would have access to clients’ sensitive data. Creating an excellent security protocol for all 16,000 employees, access rights, and permissions can be troublesome. Moreover, adding agents or applying additional software or regulations to 16,000 employees can also be time-consuming.

So what’s the best way to secure yourself from internal threats?

Currently, on the market, there are many Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions. Many of which are agent-based and provide simple screenshots of the user’s action. However, currently on the rise is Fudo Security with their product Fudo PAM. Fudo PAM is a rapidly deployable appliance that can be part of your network infrastructure as hardware, or if your business is running virtually, they have an easy-to-use hypervisor/VM package for that too! Fudo PAM runs without any agent and does not require specific OS or pre-installations as Fudo PAM is a self-contained system.

Fudo PAM provides network protection solutions against privileged misuse, data breaches, access right abuse, safeguards your administrators and regular users, prevents exploitation of your system and network protocol vulnerabilities, and enhances your company ZTNA infrastructure, acting as a critical layer of the Zero Trust concept, with many more additional features and tools.

With Fudo PAM, you can create specific grid access areas within your network infrastructure, allowing particular users to access only what is required to complete the task. Users will no longer be able to scoop around sensitive data nor sabotage or access the company’s valuable resources.

Additionally, Fudo PAM contains the best on-the-market monitoring/recording sessions, backed by biometric AI-Powered technology. It collects user biometric behavior, such as mouse use or keyboard strokes, to determine the user’s authentication and allows for impeccable playback sessions or live session views, with the ability to notify a security officer or an administrator if a user is trying to access unauthorized resources or whether a hacker is using another employee’s credentials. Any security administrator will then be able to terminate or block the connection, refusing any further access or lateral movement within your network.

Fudo PAM internally secures your network, as it never connects users or accounts to your central network infrastructure but instead acts as an intermediary between your network and user access. All the credentials are safe and never revealed, lowering the risk of data breaches or exposures within your system. Additionally, it analyzed your employee’s productivity capacity and access rights.

Looking at the Facebook data breach, it would appear Fudo PAM could be a perfect solution for their insider threat situation. Moreover, Fudo PAM works for all industries that look forward to securing their network from external and internal threats—decreasing the risk of data breaches, phishing attacks, or ransomware attacks. But also, making sure your employees are following your security policy and other regulations, resulting in a healthy and transparent enterprise with a higher reputation amongst your clients.

author: Damian Borkowski