Now it’s your turn to think outside of the box. What would you have done to keep Ed away so you could reconfigure the network?

Case Project 5: Read the following Case Study and answer the questions at the end in paragraph form.

This is a true story (with minor details changed). Microsoft had uncovered several licensing discrepancies in its software that clients were using while claiming they had purchased it from an authorized software retailer. The sale of one software package to a company in Tampa was traced back to a retailer in Pennsylvania, and yet the retailer had no record of any sales to the Tampa company. A private security consulting agency was called in, and they discovered that the network system administrator “Ed” in Pennsylvania was downloading pirated software from the Internet and selling it to customers as legitimate software behind the company’s back. Ed had sold almost a half-million dollars in illegal software. The security firm also noticed a high network bandwidth usage. Upon further investigation they found that Ed was using one of the company’s servers as a pornographic website with more than 50,000 images and 2500 videos. In addition, a search of Ed’s desktop computer uncovered a spreadsheet with hundreds of credit card numbers from the company’s e-commerce site. The security firm speculated that Ed was either selling these card numbers to attackers or using them himself.

The situation was complicated by the fact that Ed was the only person who knew certain administrative passwords for the core network router and firewall, network switches, the corporate virtual private network (VPN), the entire Human Resources system, the email server, and the Windows Active Directory. In addition, the company had recently installed a Hardware Security Module (HSM) to which only Ed had the password. The security consultant and the Pennsylvania company were worried about what Ed might do if he was confronted with the evidence, since essentially he could hold the entire organization hostage or destroy virtually every piece of useful information.

A plan was devised. The company invented a fictitious emergency situation at one of their offices in California that required Ed to fly there overnight. The long flight gave the security team a window of about five and a half hours during which Ed could not access the system (the flight that was booked for Ed did not have wireless access). Working as fast as they could, the team mapped out the network and reset all the passwords. When Ed landed in California, the chief operating officer was there to meet him and Ed was fired on the spot.

Now it’s your turn to think outside of the box. What would you have done to keep Ed away so you could reconfigure the network? Or how could you have tricked Ed into giving up the passwords without revealing to him that he was under suspicion?

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