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Security vulnerabilities arising from improper access management

It can be difficult to securely manage access to thousands of privileged accounts. Consequently, in many organizations, the passwords to privileged accounts are:

  • known to many people, possibly including former staff,
  • often the same on many systems,
  • rarely if ever changed and
  • stored in plaintext, by people and by applications.

There are serious consequences to these password management practices, including:

  • There is no accountability for use of shared, privileged accounts. This is a security risk and regulatory compliance problem and can increase the difficulty of diagnosing operation problems and auditing user access.
  • Former staff may retain sensitive access.
  • Malicious actors have an easier time compromising an enterprise's systems.
  • If one system is compromised (e.g., an IT user's PC or an application server), the threat actor can leverage passwords stored or typed on that system to compromise additional systems.


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