The recent and massive database breach at Equifax serves to highlight the insider threat that database systems face today. But you say, “The Equifax database attack was perpetrated by external hackers, not internal personnel.” While that’s true, it is also true that once the Equifax database attackers circumvented the corporate firewalls and breached the application, they were able to masquerade as legitimate and authorized insiders. To identify an attack of that nature requires tools that detect insider threats. To better understand all of this, let’s walk through the Equifax database attack chain.

According to Equifax, the database attackers exploited a vulnerability in the third-party Apache Struts software they were running and had failed to patch with an available security update. Specifically the vulnerability is CVE-2017-5638 and a patch had been available to Equifax for nearly two months prior to the attack, yet for some unexplained reason, Equifax had never installed it.

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