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Least Privilege Legacy Apps and the Desktop “Wild West”: Part 1

Posted January 25, 2011    Peter McCalister

Whenever we hear the phrase “Wild West”, the first words that come to mind are old, insecure, and vulnerable. Any old western featuring Clint Eastwood or John Wayne depicts all of these descriptions.

And coincidentally “Wild West” provides the perfect analogy for the way an enterprise’s remaining legacy infrastructure interfaces with a Windows desktops environment. Though often overlooked, every IT Administrator must face the challenge of managing legacy applications that simply will not run unless individual desktops are configured for administrator access. This remains a challenge in an enterprise Windows’ desktop environment, whether a company has 100 or 10,000 seats.
The Duke
As we have detailed elsewhere, currently, there are two options available to administrators:

Option 1: Adopt best practice of removing administrative rights. Result: Overwhelms help desk with support calls and hampers productivity.

Option 2: Grant users administrative privileges. Result: Can provide access points for malware, hackers, insider threats; and, the less reported though still equally damaging, ‘fat fingered’ unintentional error.

However, what has not been clear until now is that IT Administrators and Helpdesk Operatives that choose option 2 for the sake of productivity, and thus leave their desktop environment unnecessarily exposed, are not being cavalier or necessarily neglectful. The fact is they are left with no other choice because without their legacy applications running efficiently, productivity would come to a halt.

This is the conclusion of our recent survey of 185 IT Administrators and Help Desk Operatives who are collectively responsible for over 250,000 individual Windows’ desktops, in EMEA and North America, which we publish today in our report: Legacy Applications and Least Privilege Access Management

During this week and next, we’ll be reporting on the findings which reveal the reality of IT Administrators task of juggling the configuration of multiple legacy applications on which the company relies, with the task of keeping desktops secure and compliant.

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Additional articles

How To Implement The Australian Signals Directorate’s Top 4 Strategies

Posted October 20, 2014    Morey Haber

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), also known as the Defence Signals Directorate, has developed a list of strategies to mitigate targeted cyber intrusions. The recommended strategies were developed through ASD’s extensive experience in operational cyber security, including responding to serious security intrusions and performing vulnerability assessments and penetration testing for Australian government agencies. These recommendations…

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asp-mvc

Exploiting MS14-059 because sometimes XSS is fun, sometimes…

Posted October 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This October, Microsoft has provided a security update for System.Web.Mvc.dll which addresses a ‘Security Feature Bypass’. The vulnerability itself is in ASP.NET MVC technology and given its wide adoption we thought we would take a closer look. Referring to the bulletin we can glean a few useful pieces of information: “A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists…

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Four Best Practices for Passing Privileged Account Audits

Posted October 16, 2014    Chris Burd

Like most IT organizations, your team may periodically face the “dreaded” task of being audited. Your process for delegating privileged access to desktops, servers, and infrastructure devices is a massive target for the auditor’s microscope. An audit’s findings can have significant implications on technology and business strategy, so it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared…

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