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.