Risk
2/3/2009
04:18 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Windows Security Improved By Denial Of Administrative Rights

Configuring users to operate without administrative rights mitigates 92% of "critical" Microsoft vulnerabilities and 69% of last year's published vulnerabilities, according to a report.

To make Microsoft Windows more secure, organizations should trust Windows users less.

In a report released Tuesday, BeyondTrust, a company that sells computer privilege management software, concludes that, indeed, computer privileges should be managed.

This unsurprising finding is borne out by the company's analysis of the 80 security bulletins, addressing 150 vulnerabilities, that Microsoft published in 2008. The company found that configuring users to operate without administrative rights mitigates the impact of 92% of "critical" Microsoft vulnerabilities and 69% of last year's published vulnerabilities.

The removal of administrative rights has significant impact on the vulnerability of Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer, the company claims, making it harder to exploit 94% of Office vulnerabilities and 89% of Internet Explorer vulnerabilities.

Microsoft's own data indicates that 75% of Windows machines run with a single account and full administrative privileges.

Microsoft has been aware for years that user accounts with administrative rights can be abused. That's why it introduced User Account Control in Windows Vista. But the implementation of UAC has been widely criticized as annoying and ineffective. A Microsoft employee reportedly said last year that UAC was supposed to annoy users.

Microsoft last month published a blog post explaining changes to UAC in Windows 7. It said the company's forthcoming operating system would reduce the number of UAC warning prompts and offer users greater control over UAC.

Last week, blogger Long Zheng published a critique of the company's new approach, claiming that Microsoft's effort to make UAC less annoying makes UAC vulnerable to being disabled.

Among the Windows users posting comments about Microsoft's changes to UAC, the response is mixed. Some praise UAC, others condemn it, and others express mixed feelings.

Computer security is like that. Not everyone is going to be happy, no matter what you do. Reducing administrative rights among users may help. It may also drive users to work in less-restrictive environments when possible, such as at home, and that may create other security risks.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-0714
Published: 2015-05-02
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in Cisco Finesse Server 10.0(1), 10.5(1), 10.6(1), and 11.0(1) allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters, aka Bug ID CSCut53595.

CVE-2014-3598
Published: 2015-05-01
The Jpeg2KImagePlugin plugin in Pillow before 2.5.3 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via a crafted image.

CVE-2014-8361
Published: 2015-05-01
The miniigd SOAP service in Realtek SDK allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted NewInternalClient request.

CVE-2015-0237
Published: 2015-05-01
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) Manager before 3.5.1 ignores the permission to deny snapshot creation during live storage migration between domains, which allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (prevent host start) by creating a long snapshot chain.

CVE-2015-0257
Published: 2015-05-01
Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) Manager before 3.5.1 uses weak permissions on the directories shared by the ovirt-engine-dwhd service and a plugin during service startup, which allows local users to obtain sensitive information by reading files in the directory.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.