Pause To Consider: Generic Usernames

Fortified Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Generic usernames pose an increased risk to digital environments, making them a desirable target for hackers. Most users don’t realize that generic usernames such as “administrator, marketing, finance, surgery, and helpdesk” (among others) often have default passwords assigned to them; as a result, they are not often policed or audited for access controls. When considering the user landscape of your environment, pause to consider:

Have you recently installed or set up new software or hardware like an SQL database or Cisco appliance?

Most generic usernames are actually default usernames and should be removed or, at the very least, have the password changed to meet complexity standards.

When is the last time someone pooled the list of active directory users to see if there are any generic accounts in use on your network?

This can be achieved with a simple command on any domain-joined terminal: “net user /domain.” However, you may want to output the data gathered from this process to a file, as the results can be extensive. Alternatively, a domain administrator can log in to an active directory and see the same information.

Have you considered how you might handle a security compromise and potential forensic investigation?

Digital forensics investigations, and even general incident responses, are complex enough. Generic or group user accounts that multiple people have access to make it much more difficult to attribute the security event to a specific individual and can cast doubt upon the collected evidence. At the very least, trying to wade through the intricacies of a generic account during an incident can waste precious time.

Fortified Health Security delivers customized cybersecurity solutions and strategies for healthcare organizations. Contact us today to learn more about our unique approach.

Fortified Health Security is committed to strengthening the security posture of healthcare organizations.  In the spirit of Cybersecurity Awareness month, we will be posting daily information for you to consider when maintaining your organization’s cybersecurity program.