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Least Privilege Windows Architecturally Speaking

Posted November 30, 2011    Peter McCalister

We’ve talked about least privilege throughout thisblog over the past two years at length, but why should a desktop user care? Ultimately, a user needs admin rights on the desktop to:
-Run system tasks
-Install software (even active X controls from the Web)
-Run existing applications built to require admin privileges

least privilege architecture

An effective least privilege solution implemented for desktops will transparently plug into Active Directory and Group Policy in order to manage the elevation of privileges based on role and policy. This is what is called least privilege because you get the minimum amount of privilege in order to do a specific task only when it is needed. If the user has no privilege, then every attempt to do these tasks will be met with a UAC prompt asking for more privilege; if the user already has admin rights, then they are at risk for inten- tional, accidental, or indirect damage to their data.

Without least privilge a desktop user has either too much privilege (being setup as the default admin) or too little privilege (being set as standard user). If they have too much privilege then they can misuse that intentionally, accidentally or indirectly. If they have too little then help desk costs will rocket up while productivity falls quickly.

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Additional articles

Are Your Data Security Efforts Focused in the Right Area?

Posted January 28, 2015    Scott Lang

Vormetric Data Security recently released an insider threat report, with research conducted by HarrisPoll and analyzed by Ovum. Based on the survey responses, it is apparent that there is still a great deal of insecurity over data. However, the results also show that there may be misplaced investments to address those insecurities. I will explain…

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GHOST Vulnerability…Scary Indeed

Posted January 28, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

A vulnerability discovered by Qualys security researchers has surfaced within the GNU C Library that affects virtually all Linux operating systems. The vulnerability lies within the various gethostbyname*() functions and, as such, has been dubbed “GHOST.” GHOST is particularly nasty considering remote, arbitrary code execution can be achieved. In an effort to avoid taxing DNS lookups, glibc developers introduced…

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Your New Years Resolution: Controlling Privileged Users

Posted January 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Is 2015 the year you get a better handle on security? The news last year was grim – so much so, in fact, that many in the information security community despaired a bit. Really, the end-of-the-year infosec cocktail parties were a bit glum. OK, let’s be honest, infosec cocktail parties are usually not that wild…

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