Data breaches continue to plague business enterprises daily, and it’s nearly impossible to stop attackers from advancing into the basic layers of a company’s IT infrastructure.

Today, the perimeter is not the security force it once was. Attackers are bypassing perimeter security constantly, taking advantage of porous flaws that allow them some kind of access within your network regardless of whether the business is a small operation or global enterprise. The key to protecting your network and critical data is to learn how attackers think so you can add the right layers of security designed to stop attack efforts from becoming successful.

Despite increased, or at least commensurate, levels of IT security spending over the past two years, hackers today continue to compromise corporate networks with ease. It seems that even as more security solutions and tools are deployed, just as many  vulnerabilities are introduced that can lead to network penetration.

In today’s cyber security arena, the notion of using a traditional perimeter firewall as your primary line of defense is no longer the impenetrable wall it used to be, as hackers and malicious actors consistently find ways to sneak past the first trusted layer of defense. The combination of BYOD, distributed networks, mismanaged user access, and the sheer volume of external attacks have  created a complex series of threat vectors that require unique defense in depth strategies, starting with inside the perimeter at the core of the infrastructure and working outward from there.

According to a 2014 report sanctioned by Thycotic and IANS Research, 62% of data breach success directly resulted from the abuse of privileged account credentials, stolen by attackers from deep inside the network. This proves that traditional perimeter defense isn’t enough to stop attackers from achieving their goals.

In an effort to learn more about the methods by which hackers are able to successfully break into and compromise enterprise networks, Thycotic sponsored an official poll conducted live onsite at Black Hat USA 2015. Thycotic secured 201 responses  from both self identified white hat and black hat hackers, and
the results documented herein reveal some of the methods they use to infiltrate networks, and demonstrate the focus with which they target privileged account credentials.

When asked how the level of difficulty has changed in terms of the ability to compromise privileged account credentials, a vast majority (75%) of the survey respondents indicated it is just as easy today as it was two years ago. What’s more, an additional 12% said that it is “even easier” today, despite increased security spending. When combining those two respondent sets, a clear picture emerges in which nearly 9 in 10 hackers believe it is as easy or even easier to steal privileged account credentials today.

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