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Compromised Credentials at the Root of a Quarter of All Data Breaches

Compromised credentials are still the cause of almost a quarter of all data breaches.

A Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) report has found that data breaches, account hijacking and malicious insiders all rated as top threats for IT professionals, and that these attacks often occur because of a lack of scalable identity access management systems, failure to use multifactor authentication, insufficient password use and a lack of ongoing automated rotation of cryptographic keys, passwords and certificates. As such, it’s not surprising that insufficient identity, credential and access management ranked as the top vulnerability.

 “The survey results are insightful into understanding insufficient identity, credential and access management, as it relates to the evolving, increasingly cloud-based enterprise,” said Luciano Santos, EVP of research for the CSA. “We hope that organizations and cloud providers can use this information to help gain an understanding of how to protect themselves and their data beyond the perimeter, as they begin to adopt cloud environments.”

Of those who indicated their company reported a data breach, 22% of respondents noted the breach was due to compromised credentials. In addition, 65% of respondents indicated that the likelihood that their company would experience a future breach due to compromised credentials was medium to high.

Surprisingly, there were no significant differences in security solutions used between respondents who reported a breach and those who either did not report or did not know of a reported breach in their organizations. Companies embracing big data solutions consistently adopted more perimeter and identity security solutions; and 76% of internal access control policies extended to outsourced IT, vendors and other third parties.

“The survey findings reiterate that compromised credentials are a leading point of attack used in data breaches,” said Bill Mann, chief product officer for Centrify, which sponsored the report. “We hope that these findings will encourage organizations to leverage single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, mobile and Mac management, along with privileged access security and session monitoring, in order to minimize attack surfaces, thwart in-progress attacks and achieve continuous compliance. It’s also critical that companies secure internal and external users as well as privileged accounts—and it’s great to see that many organizations are already taking that step and extending access control policies to third parties.”

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