AP Hack & Social Media Accounts- Another Great Example of the Danger of Shared, "Privileged" Accounts


by John Worrall

As this week’s attack on the Associated Press’ Twitter admin account shows, unprotected and unmonitored shared privileged accounts can literally move markets. One simple Tweet, sent by an unauthorized person, sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down by 143 points in a matter of minutes.

Privileged accounts, those all-powerful credentials that allow cloud, application and systems administrators to do their job, need to be considered as critical vulnerabilities that must be managed.

While most of the press coverage about the AP/Twitter attack has focused on the power of social media to move markets, we should also be looking at the risk inherent in a single, shared administrative account that allowed the attacker to post the Tweet in the first place.

The power of these accounts, and frequency of their use in major cyber-attacks, is outlined in CyberSheath’s recently released APT Privileged Account Exploitation research report.

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