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mmurphy7 | 09 Aug 2013 | 0 comments

In the past 6 months Apple has released 2 Security Updates for their Windows versions of Quicktime and iTunes addressing 52 vulnerabilities. Both of the Apple Security Bulletins released had vulnerabilities that could be used to exploit the rights of the logged on user. Here’s a breakdown of the updates released:

Bulletins 2
Vulnerabilities 52
% of Vulnerabilities with privilege exploits 48%

Apple, unlike Microsoft and other software vendors Arellia has looked at, does not classify their Security Updates. Instead they lump many vulnerabilities into a single security update. Here’s a breakdown of the two security updates and the vulnerabilities with Privilege Exploits:

Security Update Vulnerabilities with Privilege Exploits Total Vulnerabilities
...
mmurphy7 | 09 Aug 2013 | 0 comments

In the past 6 months Adobe has released 16 Security Bulletins addressing 116 vulnerabilities. Of the 16 Adobe Security Bulletins released 81% had vulnerabilities that could be used to exploit the rights of the logged on user. However, if you don’t count the bulletins related to ColdFusion then 100% of the Security Bulletins had vulnerabilities that could be used to exploit user rights. Here’s a breakdown of the Adobe Security Bulletins:

Bulletins 16
Vulnerabilities 116
% of Bulletins with privilege exploits 81.25%
% of Vulnerabilities with privilege exploits 67.24%

Adobe classifies the bulletins as critical, important, moderate, and low. Similar to Microsoft, critical vulnerabilities can run attacker code and install software...

mmurphy7 | 09 Aug 2013 | 0 comments

In the past 6 months Mozilla has released 62 Security Bulletins addressing 88 vulnerabilities. Of the 62 Mozilla Security Bulletins released more than 1 out of every 2 bulletins had vulnerabilities that could be used to exploit the rights of the logged on user. All of the bulletins released affected Mozilla Firefox, which means that any user not keeping up to date with their Firefox browser is in imminent danger unless some privilege management software is in place. Here’s a breakdown of the Mozilla Security Bulletins:

Bulletins 62
Vulnerabilities 88
% of Bulletins with privilege exploits 55%
% of Vulnerabilities with privilege exploits 67%

Mozilla...

mmurphy7 | 09 Aug 2013 | 0 comments

In the past 6 months Microsoft has released 51 Security Bulletins addressing 121 vulnerabilities. Here’s a breakdown of the bulletins and vulnerabilities. Of the 51 Microsoft Security Bulletins released nearly 1 out of every 3 bulletins had vulnerabilities that could be used to exploit the rights of the logged on user.

Bulletins 51
Vulnerabilities 121
% of Bulletins with privilege exploits 35%
% of Vulnerabilities with privilege exploits 34%

Microsoft classifies the bulletins as critical, important, moderate, and low. Vulnerabilities of critical bulletins mean vulnerabilities can be exploited without the user knowing. Vulnerabilities of important bulletins will provide end users some warnings that the exploit is happening, but these...

mmurphy7 | 09 Aug 2013 | 0 comments

One of the most dangerous threats to IT security is abuse of privileged access. Preventing the exploitation of administrator privileges first requires knowledge of who has administrator access whether local or domain based. This is not only good practice, but also driven by many security standards.

One such security compliance standard is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) which outlines many security requirements to protect consumers’ credit card data. Requirement 8.5.1 states: Control addition, deletion, and modification of user IDs, credentials, and other identifier objects, which clearly identifies the need to monitor and maintain control of the administrators group.

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) releases security configuration guidelines for each Operating System. For Windows 7 section 1.8 defines User Rights and who should have access to certain system capabilities. The key to the user rights defined by CIS is which...

stebro | 26 Jun 2013 | 0 comments

Properly securing privileged accounts is a basic security tenet and often a priority for servers. Unfortunately, the same level of concern is not present for desktops in many organizations. Yet desktops\laptops often contain as much sensitive information as servers and have done so for many years.

Most desktops\laptops have information that doesn’t make it to servers yet is extremely sensitive and valuable. Think about what is on the laptops of the CEO, the HR director, the software architect, or the CFO in any given organization. Much of this information on these systems can create serious risks if compromised as any data on an organizations file or database server. Endpoint security too often focuses solely on the threat of malware and hackers, but ignores the simple threat of insecure privileged user accounts.

For Windows systems, privileged accounts are any accounts that are in the Administrators group. Often there is at least one account that is used by an...

stebro | 06 Mar 2013 | 0 comments

In previous articles, we discussed why users want administrator rights and why they need them. Now let’s explore why they shouldn’t have them. In today’s increasingly dangerous threat landscape, every organization’s security strategy should include the goal to remove administrator rights. Here are the reasons.

  1. Zero-Day Threat Protection: Arellia research has proven that running with reduced privileges can mitigate a majority of software vulnerabilities in Microsoft, Adobe, and Mozilla products. Any vulnerability has the potential to be a zero-day: meaning it is exploited before the vendor or security vendors know about it and have a chance to stop exploits with patches or antivirus \ intrusion prevention signatures. Running software with reduced privileges protects commonly software when exploited by vulnerabilities that...
mmurphy7 | 22 Feb 2013 | 0 comments

In the last blog article we discussed the top 5 reasons why users want administrator privileges. In this article we will discuss the top 5 reasons why a user actually NEEDS administrator rights. Here are the top 5 reasons:

  1. System Utilities: many of the control panel applications require administrator rights including driver installation, disk defragmenter, and backing up the.
  2. System Settings: changing system settings such as the date\time or network configuration settings require administrator privileges.
  3. Software Installation: software that tries to install into the Program Files or Windows directory needs administrator rights to do so.
  4. Software Updates: application updaters require administrator rights in order to make changes to the applications in the Program Files directory. This includes updaters for Adobe, Java, and iTunes...
mmurphy7 | 22 Feb 2013 | 0 comments

Nobody likes to be restricted in their use of a computer, or think they are being limited because they don’t have administrator rights. Most users do not NEED administrator privileges, they just WANT them. So why do users want administrator privileges? Here are the top 5 reasons:

  1. Freedom: Users want administrator privileges so they can install or modify anything and everything on their computer. They may or may not view themselves as computer experts, but believe they know enough about computers to be able to make changes to their system without any negative repercussions. Unfortunately they are usually wrong, causing the IT department to spend countless hours fixing the issues.
  2. Control: Users also want more privileges on a computer because of the control associated with being able to call your own shots. Control leads to even more headaches for the IT department as they clean up the mess left by users who make changes without understanding implications...
Ludovic Ferre | 19 Feb 2013 | 0 comments

One of my customer reported a problem that caused one of their child nothing server to run at 100% CPU and consume almost all memory (out of 32GiB available).

I first looked at the timing (it was reported last Friday) and I thought this was possibly linked to the PMImport release as last week we had Patch Tuesday (so we released the PMImport Wednesday and replicated it to the child server Thursday evening.

But this was not it. First the memory ballooning problem happened on 3 different processes: the w3wp pools for the Altiris-NS-Agent and TaskManagement as well as the AeXSvc itself.

With all three processes running we would see large chunks of memory being released in a clean drop and go right back up in after nice curve. This was because the 3 processes were fighting for the scarce memory resources and causing each other to have to be scavenged every now and then.

Stopping on of the application pool pegged the memory to ~12 GiB for each of the other...