The 21st Minute


Computer Security

CaseWare IDEA Applications

An area where IDEA has been used with particular success is in conducting security audits. Normally on a security audit the various controls over access are evaluated, the types of journals and logs that are kept are considered, and the way the system is administered and monitored is assessed. To complement these theoretical evaluations, a much more substantive approach to checking security can be conducted using IDEA. In overview, system level commands are used to create files containing data such as systems logs, access permissions, and folder structures. These files are then imported into IDEA. Various tests can then be carried out to determine if security is adequate.

Access Rights

  • Identify accounts with:
    • Passwords not set or not required for access
    • Passwords that are less than the recommended number of characters
    • Access to key directories
    • Supervisor status
    • Equivalence to users with high level access
  • Identify accounts that have not been used in the last six months
  • Identify group memberships
  • Age password changes

File List Analysis

  • Identify duplicate names
  • Identify old files
  • Analyze files by folder
  • Analyze file sizes by owner
  • Identify last access dates for old files
  • Analyze databases and files by file name extension
  • Identify all files without an owner (i.e., where user accounts have been removed from the system)
  • Test for .COM, .EXE or .BAT files in areas where there should not be programs

System Logs

  • Generate a list of accesses outside standard office hours.
  • Generate a list of accesses while users are on holiday/sick leave.
  • Identify users, particularly those with supervisory rights, who are logged in for long periods of time.
  • Perform analysis by user – identify those with higher use than might reasonably be expected.
  • Summarize by network address to identify:
    • All users with their normal PCs.
    • All PCs with their normal users.
    • Users on unusual PCs.
  • Summarize charges by user to determine resource utilization.
  • Analyze utilization by period (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly) to show historical trends

Areas of Applications , CaseWare IDEA

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