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Security In Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting your critical IT infrastructure.

Can Eliminating Admin Rights Reduce My Virus Protection Problems?

Post by Peter McCalister November 22, 2010

So you’ve invested heavily in antivirus software but still seem to have to deal with the latest virusestrojansransomware until your AV provider can can formulate and download the cure. The question that should be top of mind is whether or not there is a way to prevent or at least limit malware from ever even entering your IT environment?

To answer this question you need to understand that most malware attacks are successful because the code hijacks administrator credentials of an individual or program and uses those credentials to write directly to operating level areas of the computer or network (i.e. kernel, memory, registry).  This is a form of “indirect misuse of privilege” because the owner of those credentials isn’t even aware that they are responsible for the infection.

So in the spirit of “Doctor, doctor when I do this it hurts”, the obvious answer is “don’t do it.” The equivalent of this in your IT environment is eliminating admin rights across all physical (server, desktop, network) as well as virtual and cloud environments.  Then implementing a “least privilege” environment through the use of a privileged identity management (PIM) solution. Some industry analysts call these solutions SuperUser Privilege Management (SUPM) and the lack of such solutions in your enterprise can lead to major consequences.

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