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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

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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