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
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-4262
Published: 2014-07-28
svnwcsub.py in Subversion 1.8.0 before 1.8.3, when using the --pidfile option and running in foreground mode, allows local users to gain privileges via a symlink attack on the pid file. NOTE: this issue was SPLIT due to different affected versions (ADT3). The irkerbridge.py issue is covered by CVE-...

CVE-2013-4840
Published: 2014-07-28
Unspecified vulnerability in HP and H3C VPN Firewall Module products SECPATH1000FE before 5.20.R3177 and SECBLADEFW before 5.20.R3177 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via unknown vectors.

CVE-2013-7393
Published: 2014-07-28
The daemonize.py module in Subversion 1.8.0 before 1.8.2 allows local users to gain privileges via a symlink attack on the pid file created for (1) svnwcsub.py or (2) irkerbridge.py when the --pidfile option is used. NOTE: this issue was SPLIT from CVE-2013-4262 based on different affected versions...

CVE-2014-2974
Published: 2014-07-28
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in php/user_account.php in Silver Peak VX through 6.2.4 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that create administrative accounts.

CVE-2014-2975
Published: 2014-07-28
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in php/user_account.php in Silver Peak VX before 6.2.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the user_id parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Sara Peters hosts a conversation on Botnets and those who fight them.