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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

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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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Privileged Passwords: The Bane of Security Professionals Everywhere

Posted February 19, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Passwords have been with us since ancient times. Known as “watchwords”, ancient Roman military guards would pass a wooden tablet with a daily secret word engraved from one shift to the next, with each guard position marking the tablet to indicate it had been received. The military has been using passwords, counter-passwords, and even sound…

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Privileged Account Management Process

In Vulnerability Management, Process is King

Posted February 18, 2015    Morey Haber

You have a vulnerability scanner, but where’s your process? Most organizations are rightly concerned about possible vulnerabilities in their systems, applications, networked devices, and other digital assets and infrastructure components. Identifying vulnerabilities is indeed important, and most security professionals have some kind of scanning solution in place. But what is most essential to understand is…

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