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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.

Why Less is More with Admin Rights

Posted August 16, 2011    Peter McCalister

A recent blog post at Microsoft Malware Protection Center warns that disabling the User Account Control (UAC) tool increases the likelihood of malware threats. According to Microsoft’s Joe Faulhaber who published the entry, the Sality virus family, Alureon rootkits, Rogue antivirus like FakePAV, Autorun worms, and the Bancos banking Trojans all have variants for turning UAC off.

Earlier this year we released our investigative report examining all of the vulnerabilities Microsoft published in more than 100 Security Bulletins in 2010, documenting and providing patches for 256 vulnerabilities. The key findings from the report show that configuring users to operate without administrator rights will better protect companies from the exploitation of:

-75 percent of Critical Windows 7 vulnerabilities reported by Microsoft to date

-100 percent of Microsoft Office vulnerabilities reported in 2010

-100 percent of Internet Explorer and IE 8 vulnerabilities in 2010

-64 percent of all Microsoft vulnerabilities reported in 2010

Because vulnerabilities take time to identify and patches can take even longer to deploy, attackers are provided a specific window of opportunity to infiltrate networks and exploit undiscovered weaknesses. However, by configuring users to operate without administrator rights, organizations can effectively immunize themselves from many of these zero-day threats.
With the introduction of UAC in Windows Vista, Microsoft brought the topic of least privilege to the forefront. By removing administrative privileges and implementing the security best practice of least privilege, viruses, malware and malicious users can be avoided and network security increased. Implementation of a privilege identity management solution enables desktop users to continue to access the applications required to do their jobs effectively, without unnecessarily putting the organization at added risk.

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Additional articles

asp-mvc

Exploiting MS14-059 because sometimes XSS is fun, sometimes…

Posted October 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This October, Microsoft has provided a security update for System.Web.Mvc.dll which addresses a ‘Security Feature Bypass’. The vulnerability itself is in ASP.NET MVC technology and given its wide adoption we thought we would take a closer look. Referring to the bulletin we can glean a few useful pieces of information: “A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists…

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Four Best Practices for Passing Privileged Account Audits

Posted October 16, 2014    Chris Burd

Like most IT organizations, your team may periodically face the “dreaded” task of being audited. Your process for delegating privileged access to desktops, servers, and infrastructure devices is a massive target for the auditor’s microscope. An audit’s findings can have significant implications on technology and business strategy, so it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared…

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Bad POODLE, Don’t Bite!

Posted October 16, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

Researchers at Google (Bodo Moller, Thai Duong, and Krzysztof Kotowicz) have discovered that the encryption schemes used by SSL 3.0 are exploitable (CVE-2014-3566). Although the majority of web servers implement Transport Layer Security (TLS), the majority of clients will downgrade to SSL 3.0 in an attempt to maintain interoperability between protocols. For example, when a…

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