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
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5316
Published: 2014-09-21
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Dotclear before 2.6.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted page.

CVE-2014-5320
Published: 2014-09-21
The Bump application for Android does not properly handle implicit intents, which allows attackers to obtain sensitive owner-name information via a crafted application.

CVE-2014-5321
Published: 2014-09-21
FileMaker Pro before 13 and Pro Advanced before 13 does not verify X.509 certificates from SSL servers, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof servers and obtain sensitive information via a crafted certificate. NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incorrect fix for CVE-2013-2319...

CVE-2014-5322
Published: 2014-09-21
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Instant Web Publish function in FileMaker Pro before 13 and Pro Advanced before 13 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified vectors. NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incorrect fix for CVE-2013-3640.

CVE-2014-6602
Published: 2014-09-21
Microsoft Asha OS on the Microsoft Mobile Nokia Asha 501 phone 14.0.4 allows physically proximate attackers to bypass the lock-screen protection mechanism, and read or modify contact information or dial arbitrary telephone numbers, by tapping the SOS Option and then tapping the Green Call Option.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio