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NIST Releases Guide to Better Manage Privileged Accounts

Privileged accounts are those accounts you most definitely never want to lose control over. These accounts include what used to be commonly called “superuser” accounts, those accounts that provide the highest level of access to a system, such as a server, local endpoints, and others. You can consider privileged accounts to be like administrative accounts that provide a higher level of access, typically to configure, manage and otherwise support a system. These types of accounts are often unrestricted, or lightly restricted.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder that attackers seek privileged accounts whenever they target an organization. A few years ago the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report broke out privileged access as a segment and found that 53 percent of breaches were due to the misuse of privileged accounts.

While some organizations have started to manage these accounts properly, many others have not. With that in mind, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published draft guidance on the Privileged Account Management for the Financial Services Sector.