Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Teachable Moment about Usernames, Passwords, Whiteboards, and Live Television

(Update 6:25P)
The later live shot went out of their way to not show the section of the whiteboard with the usernames and passwords. What was shown had the wifi password erased clean without any after image.

Good on them.

Bad security to have the info posted in the first place.

But the Organization reacted quickly to minimize the security incident. That's the right next move to be sure.

Hopefully, they are also (at a minimum):
1) Immediately changing all the affected passwords to new complex equivalents (while masked in my screenshot, the original passwords did not appear to follow such standards)

2) Establish/maintain a formal policy prohibiting the sharing of usernames and passwords in open mediums (post-it notes, whiteboards, etc)

3) Require unique usernames and passwords be assigned and used by all authorized individuals (as activity on shared accounts cannot be tracked/monitored without repudiation to a specific offender)

4) Establish/maintain a password expiration mechanism that forces all users to reset their passwords every 60-90 days (at a maximum)

5) Codify mandatory username and password lifecycle management requirements and limitations within a formal Access Control Policy (if it hasn't already been)

6) Include username and password requirements and limitations within Awareness Training and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) provided to all organization stakeholders

Bonus points if they are also (at a minimum):
7) Creating new accounts replacing those which were wrongly shown to the live tv audience

8) Disabling and removing all assigned privileges from the existing now replaced accounts (including any remote access abilities)

9) (Regardless of points 6 and 7 are followed) Monitoring all accounts, both the newly established and the replaced disabled, for any misuse attempts

10) Establish/maintain a policy which reviews an internal/restricted area for confidential information -- removing/masking any identified -- prior to being accessible by the public (whether onsite, via a recorded video, or during a live TV shot)

(Original Post 4:38P)
Clearly no nefarious act here with the company or the news station. . . but. . .

If you're going to let a local news crew into your office to do a live shot praising your service - please remember to remove your admin and wifi passwords from the whiteboard in the background.

Or just don't put them there to begin with. That's a far better plan.

And also please only use complex passwords and accounts tied to an individual user so the activity can be fully tracked.

So much badness here. Not good times.