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How The Top 21% Of PAM-Mature Enterprises Are Thwarting Privileged Credential Breaches

  • Energy, Technology & Finance are the most mature industries when it comes to Privileged Access Management (PAM) adoption and uses, outscoring peer industries by a wide margin.
  • 58% of organizations do not use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for privileged administrative access to servers, leaving their IT systems and infrastructure exposed to hacking attempts, including unchallenged privileged access abuse.
  • 52% of organizations are using shared accounts for controlling privileged access, increasing the probability of privileged credential abuse.

These and many other fascinating insights are from the recently published Centrify 2019 Zero Trust Privilege Maturity Model Report created in partnership with Techvangelism. You can download a copy of the study here (PDF, 22 pp., no opt-in). Over 1,300 organizations participated in the survey from 11 industries with Technology, Finance, and Healthcare, comprising 50% of all organizations participating. Please see page 4 of the study for additional details regarding the methodology.

What makes this study noteworthy is that it’s the first of its kind to create a Zero Trust Privilege Maturity Model designed to help organizations better understand and define their ability to discover, protect, secure, manage, and provide privileged access. Also, this model can be used to help mature existing security implementations towards one that provides the greatest level of protection of identity, privileged access, and its use.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • The top 21% of enterprises who excel at thwarting privileged credential breaches share a common set of attributes that differentiate them from their peers. Enterprises who most succeed at stopping security breaches have progressed beyond vault- and identity-centric techniques by hardening their environments through the use of centralized management of service and application accounts and enforcing host-based session, file, and process auditing. In short, the most secure organizations globally have reached a level of Privileged Access Management (PAM) maturity that reduces the probability of a breach successfully occurring due to privileged credential abuse.

  • Energy, Technology & Finance are the most mature industries adopting Privileged Access Management (PAM), outscoring peer industries by a wide margin. Government, Education, and Manufacturing are the industries most lagging in their adoption of Zero Trust Privilege (ZTP), making them the most vulnerable to breaches caused by privileged credential abuse. Education and Manufacturing are the most vulnerable industries of all, where it’s common for multiple manufacturing sites to use shared accounts for controlling privileged access. The study found shared accounts for controlling privileged access is commonplace, with 52% of all organizations reporting this occurring often. Presented below are the relative levels of Zero Trust Privilege Maturity by demographics, with the largest organizations having the most mature approaches to ZTP, which is expected given the size and scale of their IT and cybersecurity departments.

  • 51% of organizations do not control access to transformational technologies with privileged access, including modern attack surfaces such as cloud workloads (38%), Big Data projects (65%), and containers (50%). Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Bots and Internet of Things (IoT) are two of the most vulnerable threat surfaces according to the 1,300 organizations surveyed. Just 16% of organizations have implemented a ZTP strategy to protect their AI/Bots technologies, and just 25% have implemented them for IoT. The graphic below compares usage or plans by transformational technologies.

  • 58% of organizations aren’t using MFA for server login, and 25% have no plans for a password vault, two areas that are the first steps to defining a Privileged Access Management (PAM) strategy. Surprisingly, 26% do not use and do not plan to use MFA for server login, while approximately 32% do plan to use MFA for server logins. Organizations are missing out on opportunities to significantly harden their security posture by adopting password vaults and implementing MFA across all server logins. These two areas are essential for implementing a ZTP framework.

Conclusion

To minimize threats – both external and internal – Privileged Access Management needs to go beyond the fundamental gateway-based model and look to encompass host-enforced privileged access that addresses every means by which the organization leverages privileged credentials. With just 21% of organizations succeeding with mature Zero Trust Privilege deployments, 79% are vulnerable to privileged credential abuse-based breaches that are challenging to stop. Privileged credentials are the most trusted in an organization, allowing internal and external hackers the freedom to move throughout networks undetected. That’s why understanding where an organization is on the spectrum of ZTP maturity is so important, and why the findings from the Centrify and Techvangelism 2019 Zero Trust Privilege Maturity Model Report are worth noting and taking action on.

How To Protect Healthcare Records In A Zero Trust World

  • There’s been a staggering 298.4% growth in the reported number of patient records breached as a result of insider-wrongdoing this year alone according to Protenus.
  • The total disclosed number of breached patient records has soared from 1.1M in Q1 2018 to 4.4M in Q3 2018 alone, 680K of which were breached by insiders.
  • There were 117 disclosed health breaches in the last 90 days alone.
  • On average it’s taking 402 days to discover a healthcare provider has been breached.

Diagnosing Healthcare’s Breach Epidemic

Using access credentials stolen from co-workers or stolen laptops, unethical healthcare insiders are among the most prolific at stealing and selling patient data of any insider threat across any industry. Accenture’s study, “Losing the Cyber Culture War in Healthcare: Accenture 2018 Healthcare Workforce Survey on Cybersecurity,” found that the most common ways healthcare employees financially gain from stealing medical records is to commit tax return and credit card fraud.

Treating healthcare’s breach epidemic needs to start by viewing every threat surface, access point, identity, and login attempt as the new security perimeter. Healthcare providers urgently need to take a “never trust, always verify” approach, adopting  Zero Trust Security to protect every threat surface using Next-Gen Access for end-user credentials and Privileged Access Management (PAM) for privileged credentials. One of the leaders in Next-Gen Access is Idaptive, a newly created spin-off of Centrify. Centrify itself is offering Zero Trust Privilege Services helping over half of the Fortune 100 to eliminate privileged access abuse, the leading cause of breaches today. Centrify Zero Trust Privilege grants least privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment.

18% of healthcare employees are willing to sell confidential data to unauthorized parties for as little as $500 to $1,000, according to a recent Accenture study. 24% of employees know of someone who has sold access to patient data to outsiders. 58% of all healthcare breaches are initiated by insiders. Confidential patient diagnosis, treatment, payment histories, and medical records are the most valuable on the Dark Web, selling for as much as $1,000 per record according to Experian.

Key insights from Protenus’ Breach Barometer illustrate how healthcare’s breach epidemic is growing exponentially:

  • There’s been a staggering 298.4% growth in the number of patient records breached as a result of insider-wrongdoing this year alone. In Q1 of this year, there were 4,597 patient records exfiltrated by insider wrong-doing, jumping to 70,562 in Q2 and soaring to 290,689 in Q3. Healthcare insiders can easily thwart healthcare systems’ legacy security approaches today by using compromised access credentials. Zero Trust Security, either in the form of Next-Gen Access for end-user credentials or Zero Trust Privilege for privileged access credentials has the potential to stop this

  • The total number of breached patient records has soared from 1.1M in Q1 of this year to 4.4M in Q3, a 58.7% jump in less than a year. Protenus found a total of 117 incidents were disclosed to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the media in Q3 2018 alone. Details were disclosed for 100 of these incidents, affecting 4,390,512 patient records, the highest level ever recorded. Jumping from 1.1M medical records in Q1 to 4.4M in Q3, healthcare providers could easily see over 6.5M records breached in Q4 2018 alone.

  • Hackers targeted healthcare systems aggressively in Q3 of this year, exfiltrating 3.6M patient records in just 90 days. Compromised access credentials are hackers’ favorite technique for exfiltrating massive quantities of medical records they resell on the Dark Web or use to commit tax and credit card fraud. Healthcare providers need to minimize their attack surfaces, improve audit and compliance visibility, reduce risk, complexity, and costs across their modern, hybrid enterprises with Zero Trust. Healthcare providers need to shut down hackers now, taking away the opportunities they’re capitalizing on to exfiltrate medical records almost at will.
  • It takes 71 days on average for healthcare providers to realize their data is breached with one breach lasting over 15 years. Protenus found a wide variation in the length of time it takes healthcare providers to realize they’ve been breached and one didn’t know until 15 years after the initial successful breach. All breaches tracked by Protenus found that the insiders and/or hackers were successful in gaining access to a wealth of patient information including addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, healthcare providers, visit date, health insurance information, financial histories, and payment information.

Conclusion

Zero Trust is the antidote healthcare needs to treat its raging breach epidemic.  It’s exponentially growing as insiders’ intent on wrongdoing turn to exfiltrating patients’ data for personal gain. Hackers also find healthcare providers’ legacy systems among the easiest to access using stolen access credentials, exfiltrating millions of records in months. With every new employee and device being a new security perimeter on their networks, the time is now for healthcare providers to discard the old model of “trust but verify” which relied on well-defined boundaries. Zero Trust mandates a “never trust, always verify” approach to access, from inside or outside healthcare providers’ networks.

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