sure-fire ways to protect your network fromimpending privilege abuse attacks.

Worried that a privilege abuse attack might be brewing? 

Fend off instances of privilege abuse by putting these airtight measures in place.   

Download 30-day free trial

Privilege abuse decoded.

Privilege abuse, as the name suggests, is the process of misusing special rights granted to privileged accounts, accidentally or intentionally, for tasks that do not adhere to the organization’s policies.

The 2018 Insider Threat Report specifies that 37 percent of privilege abuse attacks happen due to organizations granting users greater access control than required. 

Is privilege abuse worth the worry?

Privilege abuse can critically affect almost every vertical in the world. Let's look at the damage privilege abuse can cause in a few verticals.

Financial agencies

A privileged user at a financial agency, say an account manager, tries to steal clients' money by using their access to financial records. The company finds itself facing legal charges the very next day. 

Government companies

Consider a government organization with databases storing confidential information about that country’s citizens. A privileged user goes rogue and steals the identities of hundreds or possibly thousands of people. They then use those stolen identities for any number of things, including to gain access to victims’ bank accounts.

Educational institutions

In an effort to cut costs, a university enlists students to build an attendance management system. To properly implement this project, the students need access to critical data. These students use this access to modify their grades, class ranking, tuition fees, and more. 

Most common types of privilege abuse attacks

Attacks due to privilege creep

Privilege escalation attack

Account hijacking

  • Attacks due to privilege creep

    A best practice for security management is to revoke a user’s special rights once their designated task is completed. However, due to lack of proper monitoring by technicians, most of these rights are not revoked on time. Over time, accounts can accumulate specific privileges; this phenomenon is known as privilege creep. This can result in accidental or intentional misuse of rights for fraudulent or malicious activities. 

  • Privilege escalation attack

    Privilege escalation is the process of users elevating their permissions to gain greater access rights. For instance, a user might chance upon the saved passwords of a privileged user (say, an administrator) and use that privileged account to elevate their own privileges in the organization.   

  • Account hijacking

    An attacker may steal the credentials of another user, and then impersonate that user by logging in to their account. The attacker may then use the privileges assigned to the victim's account for carrying out malicious plans.   

Airtight methods to control privilege abuse.

Assign NTFS permissions with precision

Careless handling of NTFS permissions can land your organization in hot water. Even so, many technicians take the easy route of granting full control to most users, as granular configuration of permissions using the native tools is cumbersome. A better practice is to review a summary of who has what kind of access to which folders before you decide on assigning fresh permissions to users. 

Lock down inactive accounts

Attackers can easily hijack the accounts of inactive users, such as the accounts of employees who have gone on vacation. To prevent ungoverned inactive accounts from opening the door for account hijacking, make it a rule of thumb to disable such accounts.

Streamline privilege management

Privilege creep happens because technicians forget to revoke the assigned permissions on time. This can easily be prevented by automating the process of removing users from privileged groups when they no longer need access. Additionally, for easy administration of permissions, you can create a group containing all the users you want to provide with full control.

Delegate tasks granularly

Keep your roles and access rights in line with each other by delegating only the necessary rights to the required roles. While delegating access rights, assign special rights only to the required OUs, and be very restrictive with the type of tasks that a technician can perform in an OU. 

Automate stale account cleanup

When an organization’s offboarding policies are not rigidly followed, ex-employees may retain access rights to business-critical resources. This unauthorized access can wreak havoc for an organization. Therefore, it's essential to construct proper deprovisioning policies and automate the offboarding process to prevent errors. 

Document the rights elevation process

To prevent incidents of privilege escalation, use a documented request approval process for elevating rights. Documenting the request approval process empowers you to decide whether the privilege elevation is warranted or not.

How ADManager Plus can help prevent privilege abuse?

Comprehensive NTFS management and reporting

Comprehensive NTFS management and reporting

1
Set or modify NTFS permissions granularly.×
2
Preview the existing permissions as well as the permissions to be modified for a specific folder.×
Template-based provisioning

Template-based provisioning

1
Create or modify objects with the help of templates. ×
2
Proactively define duplication.×
3
Auto-fill attributes with the help of conditions.×
Inactive user management

Inactive user management

1
Generate reports on inactive users.×
2
Perform management operations on the required users from within the report. ×
Automated deprovisioning policies

Automated deprovisioning policies

1
Define tasks that are to be performed during cleanup.×
2
Automatically pick up users to be deleted through reports or a CSV file.×
3
Set the time interval and frequency for the automation.×
OU-based delegation

OU-based delegation

1
Select the rights to be delegated to technicians.×
2
Select the OUs that you want to delegate.×
Multi-tier request approval process

Multi-tier request approval process

1
Use a multi-tier workflow to document the request-approval process.×
Comprehensive NTFS management and reporting
Template-based provisioning
Inactive user management
Automated deprovisioning policies
OU-based delegation
Multi-tier request approval process

Try ADManager Plus for free

Download Now

30 days free trial.