Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Microsoft Vulnerabilities & Admin Privileges

Posted January 28, 2011    Peter McCalister

Some of you may have already seen the annual report we do each year on vulnerabilities in Microsoft products. Our last report found that in 90% of critical vulnerabilities could be mitigated with the removal of administrative rights.

This presents three sources of risks to Windows desktops in a business environment:

  • Users that are slow to download the latest patches leave their PCs vulnerable
  • Discovered vulnerabilities that have not yet been patched
  • Vulnerabilities Microsoft is not yet aware of, but there is some awareness in the hacker community

But alas, today a Computerworld article highlights the trouble with relying on Microsoft patches alone to protect PCs from Microsoft vulnerabilities. Microsoft pulled a December 14th Outlook patch after it caused several performance issues on PCs that downloaded it, reissuing a fixed patch over a  month later.

This means PCs were left unpatched for at least a month and Computerworld reveals, this isn’t the first time. Microsoft’s own blog post responding to a recent FTP vulnerability in Windows 7 seems to indicate that they may not be patching it:

“We’ll continue to investigate this issue and, if necessary, we‘ll take appropriate action to help protect customers.”

I don’t blame Microsoft. They work hard, push out a lot of patches and fix critical vulnerabilities as quickly as possible. But when you’re talking about several suites of software that are amongst the most common applications on the desktop, that’s a big target and a lot of software.

No vendor could possibly keep up with it, but that’s why the organizations has to remove administrative rights to protect themselves under the real-world circumstance of prolific vulnerabilities.


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Additional articles


Answering the age-old question, ‘What’s plugged into my network?’

Posted October 9, 2015    Alejandro DaCosta

“What’s plugged into my network?” is a question I hear frequently from security administrators. And, really, it’s no surprise why. No longer do we have to account just for the physical servers in our datacenters, workstations and a few network devices. Now we need to keep track of roaming laptops, dynamic virtual systems, off-site cloud deployments and BYOD.


Closing the Vulnerability Gap

Posted October 7, 2015    Brian Chappell

Managing vulnerabilities is a significant challenge for many organizations. The main difficulties with managing this manifest in two key areas. The first is that the list isn’t static. The second is priority.


Scottrade Breach: Identified by Federal Officials

Posted October 5, 2015    Morey Haber

Late afternoon on October 2nd, news leaked out of another large security breach, now at Scottrade. The identity count of records, in the millions again (4.6 million is the latest). This breach comes on the second day of national CyberSecurity month, the first being Experian/T-Mobile breach.