As ARCON predicted…data breach incidents are rising due to lack of Privileged Access Management

As we are preparing to bid adieu to 2019, let us see how our prediction at the beginning of the year got proved to be accurate. In one of our blogs, we discussed that managing data in shared and distributed environment, migrating data to the cloud environment, hosting data in MSP environment and compliance with regulatory standards would demand robust Privileged Access Management (PAM). Several incidents round the year showed how organizations still lack a stringent cyber security policy and safeguards to mitigate data breach threat. These incidents re-emphasize why today’s enterprises require a PAM to mitigate risks arising from malicious insiders or external malefactors.

Shared and Distributed Environment

The recent malware attack incident at one of the Nuclear Power Plants in the South of India proved that unmonitored and uncontrolled privileged accounts can cost heavily to an organization. A forensic investigation suggested that the infected system was used by a malicious user who connected to unauthorized internet for performing official administrative tasks. The breach highlights that the risks arising from unmonitored shared IT environment is huge. The ramifications of such incidents malign organizations’ financial position and reputation.

ARCON | PAM would have ensured that the privileged activities were monitored in real-time and the malicious activities were mitigated before any disaster.

Migrating Data to Cloud

A popular Thai Airlines company suffered a massive breach where personal data of 21 million passengers were compromised. After investigating the overall data security structure in the organization, it was found that the customers used to get unsolicited calls asking to verify personal information. After a few customers drew the attention of the organization regarding the calls, it was found that the cloud vendor of this Airline company had several suspicious activities which eventually resulted in the breach.

Regarding this, Nasscom has come up with a very interesting statistics which shows that the Cloud Security market will reach almost $7.1 by 2020 in India. Cloud adoption is going in such a rampant speed that most of the organizations would invariably invite cyber crooks to exploit the vulnerabilities if adequate security measures are not taken. Migrating IT workloads to a cloud service provider (CSP) offers scalability, flexibility, and efficiency. However, at the same time, it increases risks of compromised third-parties and malicious insiders.

ARCON | PAM ensures that the third-party and malicious insider risks are mitigated as the solution reinforces authentication and authorization mechanism.

Managed Service Provider (MSP)

The infamous and shocking breach incident in one of the major renowned international IT giants proves that cyber threats arising from Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are a big concern today. Organizations opt for MSP (Managed Service Providers) to ensure uninterrupted business operations although, the major security challenge with MSP lies with the uncontrolled and unmonitored access to privileged accounts. The same incident happened with this IT giant where the organization was bound to share the privileged account details to the third-party users, which turned out to be fatal because there was no third-party monitoring mechanism in place to ensure the prevention of unauthorized access. Despite having data security assurance from the service provider, the organization had to suffer because there was no security initiatives from their own.

ARCON | PAM would have ensured that the third-party users were authenticated before performing any task and their activities would have been monitored in real-time to prevent any suspicious activity.

Regulatory Mandates

The global social media giant Facebook has been slapped a fine of $2.2 billion as per the GDPR act for violating standard regulatory mandates. The company stored confidential and private user passwords insecurely in plain text. GDPR commission was notified that millions of passwords of the users of Facebook, Facebook Lite and even Instagram were stored in plain text format in internal servers without the knowledge and consent of the users. Thus, GDPR had to commence a statutory enquiry regarding the same and eventually had to impose the penalty.

Apart, HIPAA has unveiled a fact that almost 51% of global healthcare organizations fail to comply with the mandates of HIPAA. This means, more than half of the organizations storing digital records of the patients are not ensuring the security of those patients’ private information and are not compliant to standard HIPAA norms. For instance, Inmediata Health Group, Corporation, San Juan, Puerto Rico was penalized by HIPAA for affecting more than 15,65,338 patients private information due to some unauthorized access.

Once deployed, ARCON | PAM ensures that all these standard global regulatory compliances are met. Data Integrity, data security, access control and password rotation are also maintained and the organizations follow the mandates to avoid any kind of breaches.

Conclusion

All the above incidents give alert messages to global organizations. These incidents urgently demand a plan of action, which is to reinforce best privileged practices with the help of Privileged Access Management. However, many organizations today are far from being equipped with a robust risk-predictive and risk-preventive solution that could safeguard their digital assets. With digital assets increasing due to digitalization of IT operations, the number of Privileged users administering roots accounts, database, applications and network devices keeps on rising. Hence, these accounts need to be managed, controlled and monitored in real-time so that any bad actor in the IT environment – be it a malicious insider or a compromised third-party element – can not abuse data by gaining unauthorized access to critical systems.


ARCON is a leading enterprise risk control solutions provider, specializing in risk-predictive technologies. ARCON | User Behaviour Analytics enables to monitor end-user activities in real-time. ARCON | Privileged Access Management reinforces access control and mitigates data breach threats. ARCON | Secure Compliance Management is a vulnerability assessment tool.