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Macs Need Least Privilege Too

Posted June 17, 2011    Peter McCalister

Turns out that Macs aren’t as virus and hacker proof as originally perceived. Just check out a recent posting on MacRumors.com to read all the details.
In this blog post it appears that a new malware threat is appearing when users perform Google searches.
I’ve actually seen this malware pop up on a Mac recently, and the recommendation to mitigate this threat was to run as least privileged user (“of course”). Running as a standard user can blunt the attack and generally enhance security on any operating system. Interestingly, a post was made in the comments section below the article that got me thinking.

The commenter said, “nothing can defend against user stupidity.” If the organization allows users to run with administrator privileges on any operating system, is it really a surprise that bad things can and do happen? Is it realistic to think that users will do the right thing when faced with a security decision?

As IT professionals, it is easy to point the finger at the user and call them “stupid,” but that is because we have learned (in some cases, the hard way) to spot security threats that come from suspicious downloads and phishing scams. Further, users simply want to get their job done. If IT security is not part of their job description, it shouldn’t really come as any surprise that users ignore these security threats, which are obvious to IT professionals.

It could be argued that everyone has a responsibility when it comes to security, but that doesn’t mean that we should simply ignore recommendations to remove administrator privileges from users and call them stupid.

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Additional articles

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Big Surprise: Cost of Data Breaches Up; Are you Doing the *Right* Things to Mitigate the Costs?

Posted May 28, 2015    Scott Lang

Ponemon Institute Cost of Data Breach Study – costs are going up – to the tune of a 23% increase in total costs of data breaches, and a 12% increase in per-record cost since 2013. Are you doing the right things to mitigate costs?

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The tip of the IRS data breach – and it IS an iceberg

Posted May 27, 2015    Morey Haber

The IRS has been warned for decades about their security best practices. And now, at least 100,000 Americans have had their records compromised. How? The IRS uses a service called “Get Transcript”.

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Tales from the Datacenter: Vulnerability Management Nightmares

Posted May 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Vulnerability scanning, threat management, risk analysis, patching, and configuration management are some of the major activities usually associated with vulnerability management, and none of these are new…so why are we failing so badly at many of them?

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