More musings on the enhanced IE security in Win2K3
Sunday, March 30, 2003 4:05 PM
G Andrew Duthie
One other cool thing included in the management recommendations for the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration (res://shdoclc.dll/IESechelp.htm#manage, on a Win2K3 machine), is a set of recommendations for browser security for servers. If all server admins followed these, that would certainly be an improvement. Unfortunately, many folks probably won't ever look at the docs for the Enhanced Security Configuration, which is why I'm reproducing these tips here:
Browser Security — Best Practices
Using servers for Internet browsing does not adhere to sound security practices because Internet browsing increases the exposure of your server to potential security attacks. Regardless of the browser you use, you should restrict browsing on your server.
To reduce the risk to your server of potential attacks from malicious Web-based content:
- Do not use servers for browsing general Web content.
Use client computers to download drivers, service packs, and so on.
- Do not view sites that you cannot confirm are secure.
- Use a limited user account instead of an administrator account for general Web browsing.
- Use Group Policy to keep unauthorized users from making inappropriate changes to browser security settings.
Good advice. Now let's hope people follow it.
Quiz time! How many of you are running as Administrator (or an account with administrative rights) right now?
I'll start by fessing up that I am (at least on my day-to-day machine), which I should not be. There are two big problems with this practice.
The first problem, which affects mainly the person running as admin (as well as potentially any machine on their network) is that if malicious code gets executed while you're running as admin, you're basically owned by that code, it can do whatever it wants.
The second problem, for those of us who are developing code to be used by others, is that the habit of running as admin often means that code that we develop breaks when the user of that code isn't running as admin. This of course means that the user of the code may resort to running as admin just to get your code to work. Thus you've extended your bad habit to someone else. I can say at least that all of the code examples that I write for my books are now written and tested 100% under a non-admin account, so that my readers will never have to run as admin just to get the samples to work.
I'm working on weaning myself from running as admin, and I certainly hope if you're not already, that you will all work on this too.
So how about it? How many of you are running as admin? Let's see a (virtual) show of hands...