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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

Dark Reading

2014: The Year of Privilege Vulnerabilities

Posted December 18, 2014    Chris Burd

Of the 30 critical-rated Microsoft Security Bulletins this year, 24 involved vulnerabilities where the age-old best practice of “least privilege” could limit the impact of malware and raise the bar of difficulty for attackers.

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Looking back on information security in 2014

Posted December 16, 2014    Dave Shackleford

Dave Shackleford is a SANS Instructor and founder of Voodoo Security. Join Dave for a closer look at the year in security, and learn what you can do to prepare for 2015, with this upcoming webinar. 2014 has been one heck of an insane year for information security professionals. To start with, we’ve been forced…

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patch-tuesday

December 2014 Patch Tuesday

Posted December 9, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This month marks the final Patch Tuesday of 2014. Most of what is being patched this month includes Internet Explorer, Exchange, Office, etc… and continues a trend of the greatest hits collection of commonly attacked Microsoft software. Probably the one thing that broke the mold this month is that for once there is not some…

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