Akku’s Agentless AD Connector For Improved Security

The AD connector which comes with Akku, allows organizations to use either their on-prem AD or Azure AD as the data source for authentication. Akku’s AD is agentless, which means that no additional software is installed in the client environment. Continue reading Akku’s Agentless AD Connector For Improved Security

A How-to Guide to Privileged Identity Management

Privileged Identity Management (PIM) refers to the control and monitoring of access and activity involving privileged user identities within an organization. Privileged identities include those of superusers or super control users such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Database Administrator (DBA), and other top management officials.

Usually, such accounts are given access to all applications and data within an organization, along with the highest levels of permissions. However, many times, such unlimited access has been the cause for data breaches. When an organization’s data is compromised from a privileged user or their account, it is known as Privilege Abuse or Privileged User Abuse. Continue reading A How-to Guide to Privileged Identity Management

What is advanced server access?

Advanced Server Access is a relatively new aspect of identity and access management system for the cloud. In fact, it fits better under the umbrella of privileged access management (PAM). PAM is built on top of IdPs and ADs, which are crucial for identity and access management for on-prem networks. By being used in conjunction with ADs, PAM has been able to successfully provide enhanced control over identity for administrators and other privileged users.

What is PAM?

Privileged access management helps to secure and control privileged access to critical assets on an on-premise network. With PAM, the credentials of admin accounts are placed inside a virtual vault to isolate the accounts from any risk. Once the credentials are placed in the repository, admins are required to go through the PAM system every time they need access to the critical areas of a network. For every single login, their footprint is logged and authenticated. After every cycle, the credentials are reset, ensuring that admins have to create a new log for every access request. Continue reading What is advanced server access?

Is Social Login a Secure Login?

Social login is a form of single sign-on, where users are allowed to log into an application or website using one of their existing social media account credentials. A social login, therefore, eliminates the need for users to register on yet another online platform – saving them the need to remember yet another set of credentials.

If you are a business, you may have noticed that a social login option on your online platform has had a positive effect on the number of registrations you receive. If you are an individual user, you may have found the option to either “Sign up” or “Login with Facebook/Google” and felt relieved that you were able to access the platform in just a few seconds by choosing the latter. But have you ever thought of how secure this method of login really is?

Let us look at the various aspects that affect the security of social login.

Social networks invest more on security

Social login is, by and large, considered to be a secure login method. This is because social media platforms including Google and Facebook are huge, powerful corporations in the online world with more potential than the original business (to whose website/application you are logging into) to set up strong security measures.

One compromised credential = multiple compromised accounts

On the other hand, if a hacker does manage to crack the social account – either due to a weak password or through a brute-force attack, this puts not only a user’s social media profile under threat but all of the applications and websites in which the user has used a social login option. The problem is only made worse with advanced threats like credential stuffing.

Similarly, if an individual’s phone is stolen and unlocked, with a Facebook or Google account that is still logged in, more than just one account is again compromised.

Third-party tracking scripts continue to threaten

Research conducted by Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy revealed that, when you log in to a website or application using social login, a third party might be able to place tracking scripts on the website or application. These tracking scripts have the ability to steal information that you have shared with the website or application during the social login – and sometimes even more than just that!

Although Facebook has announced, post publication of this study, that it would address this loophole in their universal login API, experts say that the issue may be deeper and more complicated than that. It is a harsh reality that a number of companies today create software and tracking tools that can be used to scoop, steal and sell information from such platforms.

So, what is the solution?

While the ease and convenience of social login is undeniable, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the potential threats of using such a feature. The next time you are thinking about a social login, keep these points in mind:

  • Enable multi-factor authentication and risk-based adaptive authentication features that are provided by your social media network. A number of social network providers have set up these built-in security enhancement features, but they may not be enabled by default. Make sure to check your account/privacy settings and make the appropriate changes. This way, an additional layer of security will back you up even in case that your username/password are compromised.
  • Check what permissions are being asked of you by the website or application that you are registering to using a social login. There will be a request to access your name, public profile and a few other details sometimes. Provide only information that you think is relevant to the site and deny all others. It might also help if you go back to your social media account and check what all is part of your public profile, and change those settings in order to limit the information you are allowing someone else to access.
  • Use the social login feature selectively. If you are wary of a website or application, or if you are sure you will not be using it too ofteis n (and hence will not need a quick login method), then avoid logging in to them using your social media credentials. We suggest creating an email ID only for such occasional-use sign ups and using that to register instead.

If you are a business offering social login, you could offer your users with more security by integrating your application or service with an identity and access management solution (IAM) like Akku which comes with advanced features like multi-factor authentication, location-based restrictions, and suspicious login prevention. We also recommend that you speak to a cloud specialist on other cloud security measures that you can implement.

The Importance of Single Sign-on for Educational Institutions

Let’s admit it: schools and universities today are not what they used to be back when we were growing up. Digitization has swept over almost every aspect of educational institutions. Classrooms have become “smart”, with blackboards being replaced or supplemented by LED screens. Students can simply log in to portals from where they can access information about grades, access lessons from learning apps, and more. Teachers don’t use physical attendance registers today; they mark the daily attendance of their students on tablets – data from which triggers automatic, customized messages to the parents of students who are absent from class.

With such revolutionary change taking over educational institutions, they are also under the rising threat of becoming the target of hackers. Therefore, it is important to ensure enhanced security across the network to prevent student and parent information from being exploited. What’s more, there are cases of students themselves becoming hackers these days – attempting to manipulate grades, using their fellow students’ information to bully them online, and engaging in other malicious activities.

Here are some ways in which a single sign-on solution can not only enhance security but also improve the efficiency of administrators in your educational institution.

Easy Provisioning and Deprovisioning

Every year, a set of students graduate and a new set of students are enrolled. This means that creating accounts and providing access to student portals is a never-ending process. More importantly, denying access to a student who no longer studies at the institution must not be overlooked.

With an SSO, administrators can view – in a single dashboard – all of the apps related to a particular user account and take action quickly and effectively without having to provision/deprovision accounts individually across apps or portals.

Instant Access to all Apps

A survey conducted in the USA showed that 25% of class-time is spent in troubleshooting and teachers trying to help students log in to their respective learning applications. In most cases, the use of multiple applications, and therefore multiple credentials, is the main problem here.

A single sign-on solution, as the name suggests, eliminates the need for multiple credentials, and with it, reduces the time taken to remember and correctly enter them. This also reduces the number of stray passwords, prevents users from writing down passwords and using other methods to remember credentials that are prone to compromise, and also reduces the time taken in resetting forgotten passwords.

Secure Password Policy Enforcement

Students of today may be sharp, but technology is sharper and acts as a double-edged sword. This is why, when it comes to protecting your network from brute-force attacks and other modern security threats, a strong password policy is essential. After all, a compromised password of a student could compromise the security of the entire network in more ways than one.

An SSO typically acts as the identity provider (IdP) to all the applications or portals used within the institution and, therefore, can be used to set up and enforce a strong password policy. This will ensure that passwords created by users of the institution’s applications meet a certain set of requirements with regard to length and complexity.

SSO and Beyond – Akku

Akku, by CloudNow, is an identity and access management solution that includes a powerful SSO functionality. But SSO is only one of many in a slew of features packed into this IAM solution.

Akku can also help you ensure safer interactions on the internet with filters, harness the power of YouTube for teaching/learning, use multi-factor authentication to restrict access to confidential data and more.

For more information on what Akku can do for your institution, get in touch today!

Protect your Business from Privilege Abuse with IAM

Privilege abuse – that is the security threat that your business’s IT team is most worried about. According to a survey conducted in March 2014 among more than 4000 IT security executives, over 88% of them fear that users who have access to the organization’s applications and data are the ones who are most likely to compromise it and lead to a security breach.

Privilege abuse, or privileged user abuse, refers to the inappropriate or fraudulent use of permitted access to applications and data. This could be done, either maliciously, accidentally or through ignorance of policies. In addition to causing financial losses, such insider breaches also damage the organization’s reputation, sometimes irreparably.

Continue reading Protect your Business from Privilege Abuse with IAM

The IAM Imperative: Through An SMB’s Eyes

Today’s MNCs were once small or medium businesses (SMBs). Small and medium businesses are the proving ground for emerging technology, as they have tight budgets and require specific, targeted functionality that suits their style and processes. Once products and solutions pass this litmus test, they start becoming more mainstream, being absorbed more widely by companies and consumers.

Continue reading The IAM Imperative: Through An SMB’s Eyes

Password Managers can be Hacked. Now What?

On average, every person has 7.6 accounts – that’s a lot of user IDs and passwords for an individual! Remembering the user ID and password for all these accounts is obviously very cumbersome, and third party service providers have capitalized on this to provide password management services. A password manager is essentially a single repository for all your credentials. Two very popular password managers are LastPass and Dashlane. These are applications which will store your credentials in a “secure” database. However, they haven’t been spared by hackers, who breached their security to get access to thousands of user credentials.

Continue reading Password Managers can be Hacked. Now What?

Can you Trust the Agent on your Active Directory?

If a company works with very few applications, user repositories would have to be mapped individually for each application. Every new user needs to be validated with each individual user directories to be able to access the respective protected application. This means that the same user has to log in separately every time he/she wants to use each application on the network. The inefficiency of this model was reduced greatly with the advent of Active Directory and LDAP.

A significant number of identity and access management solutions have the need to work with Active Directory as the repository of user information against which access is verified. Active Directory generally controls user identity and access permissions to everything from files, networks, and servers, to on-premise and cloud applications. However, integrating an Active Directory or LDAP with on-premise and cloud applications require third-party agents to be installed on your network.

Continue reading Can you Trust the Agent on your Active Directory?

IAM using SSO and Federated Identity Management

Identity management encompasses several operational mechanisms for managing users across a large system or network of applications. Two of the most prominent of those are Single Sign-on (SSO) and Federated Identity Management. Due to its evolving nature, identity and access management has several terms thrown around ambiguously. Even among developers, major differences are often missed while talking about federated identity and SSO. In this article, we aim to break down the difference between the two.

Continue reading IAM using SSO and Federated Identity Management