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Another Reminder Why It’s Important to Eliminate Admin Rights

Posted September 27, 2011    Peter McCalister

According to a recent CNET News article, the hacker known as Comodohacker is now threatening to exploit Microsoft’s Windows Update service. This comes on the heels of Microsoft’s misstep of inadvertently offering an early look at the latest Patch Tuesday updates for 15 vulnerabilities in Windows, Office and Server products.

“I’m able to issue Windows update–Microsoft’s statement about Windows Update and that I can’t issue such update is totally false. I already reversed ENTIRE Windows update protocol, how it reads XMLs via SSL which includes URL, KB no, SHA-1 hash of file for each update, how it verifies that downloaded file is signed using WinVerifyTrust API, and…Simply I can issue updates via Windows update!” – Comodohacker.

In 2010, Microsoft published more than 100 security bulletins and provided patches for 256 vulnerabilities and the vast majority of security threats from Microsoft vulnerabilities can be mitigated if users do not have unnecessary admin rights.

While Comodohacker’s claims have not been substantiated at this point, according to Microsoft, only Windows updates that are signed by the Microsoft Root Certificate Authority are allowed to be installed via the Windows update process. Regardless of this threat, this is a stark reminder why it so very important that organizations eliminate admin rights for users.

When you allow your users to run as a local admin, you are opening your enterprise to serious security issues. You may think you’re saving money by allowing this instead of multiple calls to the help desk, but in reality you’re risking much more than money.

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Additional articles

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Don’t Create a Different sudoers File for Each System

Posted May 20, 2015    Randy Franklin Smith

What if you have multiple Linux and/or Unix systems? Sudo management can become onerous and unwieldy if you try to manage a different sudoers file on each system. The good news is that sudo supports multiple systems.

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What Does Microsoft Local Administrator Password Solution Really Do?

Posted May 19, 2015    Morey Haber

LAPS is a feature that allows the randomization of local administrator accounts across the domain. Although it would seem that this capability overlaps with features in BeyondTrust’s PowerBroker Password Safe (PBPS), the reality is it is more suited for simple use cases such as changing the local Windows admin account and not much more.

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On Demand Webinar: Securing Windows Server with Security Compliance Manager

Posted May 14, 2015    BeyondTrust Software

On Demand Webinar: Security Expert Russell Smith, explains how to use Microsoft’s free Security Compliance Manager (SCM) tool to create and deploy your own security baselines, including user and computer authentication settings.

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