In case you missed a previous post or two on the topic of why end users should not have administrative rights over their PCs, BeyondTrust has released a very compelling report on this issue. But first, let me ask the reader a few questions.
First off, what if I had a very simple security fix, requiring no new software to be purchased or installed, and with minimal configuration changes, that could block 64% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities reported in 2009? Would you be interested? What if I told you we had a fix that could also prevent 94% of Internet Explorer and 100% of Internet Explorer 8 vulnerabilities reported in 2009? How about blocking 100% of Microsoft Office vulnerabilities reported in 2009? Still not enough? How about blocking 90% of critical Windows 7 vulnerabilities reported to date?
As you should have guessed by now, the fix for all of these is the same: removing administrative rights from end users over their PCs.
While there are still some (poorly written) desktop applications which require administrative rights to run, I have found these to be relatively few in number these days, and once the initial configuration has been done, most programs run just fine as an ordinary user. Despite the additional configuration required by some programs, including hardware drivers, that needs to be done by an admin, the cost of setting these up the right way is generally far less than recovering from the damage caused by a serious malware outbreak.
The press release and the complete report are available from BeyondTrust’s website.
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