HP Inc. Thursday, announced enhancements to its HP Wolf Security endpoint protection portfolio, with the launch of Sure Access Enterprise (SAE). SAE protects users with rights to access sensitive data, systems, and applications. It prevents attackers from hi-jacking these privileged sessions – even if the users’ endpoint device is compromised, the access to high value data and systems can remain secure. This stops minor endpoint breaches turning into major security incidents.
Available for both HP and non-HP devices, SAE leverages HP’s unique task isolation technology to run each privileged access session within its own, hardware-enforced virtual machine (VM). This ensures the confidentiality and integrity of the data being accessed, isolating it from any malware in the endpoint operating system. Users are free to conduct privileged, non-privileged, and personal activities securely from one machine. This improves user experience, reduces IT overheads, and enhances protection.
“Gaining access to a privileged users’ device is a critical step in the attack chain. From here, an attacker can scrape credentials, escalate privileges, move laterally, and exfiltrate sensitive data.” comments Global Head of Security for Personal Systems at HP Inc., Ian Pratt, “Sure Access Enterprise is a unique solution that prevents this escalation, thwarting attackers.”
Organisations have several types of users that need to access privileged data, systems, and applications daily. These users range from IT administrators, IoT and OT support staff, through to customer support and finance teams.
Pratt further explained that allowing these users to perform privileged and non-privileged tasks on the same PC comes with considerable risk. Even if a Privileged Access Management (PAM) system is used to control access to privileged systems, attackers can potentially still usurp privileged sessions, steal sensitive data and credentials, or insert malicious code and commands (e.g., via injected keystrokes, clipboard capture, or memory scraping) if the endpoint is compromised.
Traditional best practice has been to issue privileged users with separate dedicated Privileged Access Workstations (PAW) that are used solely for privileged tasks. However, this inconveniences users and increases IT overheads purchasing and managing two systems.
SAE, HP explains, uses advanced hardware-enforced virtualization to create protected VMs that are isolated from the desktop operating system and hence cannot be viewed, influenced, or controlled by it. Thus, confidentiality and integrity of the application and data inside the protected VM can be assured, without the operational cost and complexity of issuing a separate PAW.
“By isolating tasks in protected VMs, which are transparent to the end user, Sure Access Enterprise breaks the attack chain,” continues Pratt. “As well as protecting System Administrators accessing high-value servers, SAE can be used to protect other sensitive assets – for example, protecting credit card details accessed by customer support at a retailer, patient data access at a healthcare provider, or connections to an Industrial Control System at a manufacturer.”
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