BeyondTrust Reins in Vista UAC Prompts

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-08-21 Print this article Print

BeyondTrust Privilege Manager 3.5 removes almost all the User Account Control prompts.

Microsofts Windows software forms the basis for an ecosystem of applications that run on top of it, but sometimes those programs are designed to correct the things customers dont like or want in the operating system. Take Vistas controversial User Account Control, which is designed to reduce the exposure and attack surface of the operating system by requiring that all users run in standard mode.
But, when Vista users encounter a system task that requires administrator privileges, such as attempting to install an application, up pops a dialogue box telling them that they need administrator authorization.
This feature has caused quite a hullabaloo about how intrusive it is, while Microsoft has also acknowledged that it is liable to social engineering. Read more here about how User Account Control can be hijacked. Given the fact that where there is market demand there will be a product to fill it, BeyondTrust released Privilege Manager 3.5 on August 21. The product, which costs $30 a seat, removes almost all the UAC (User Account Control) prompts an enterprise user might see when running Vista, BeyondTrust CEO John Moyer told eWEEK. Privilege Manager 3.5 essentially gives network administrators the power to decide when to elevate privileges by letting them create security policies that are applied via Microsofts Group Policy, he said. These policies can automatically grant authorized applications the necessary privileges to run, thereby suppressing UAC prompts without removing any of the benefits of Vista and UAC. Privilege Manager 3.5 supports Vista, including its recommended corporate configuration, as well as Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003. "The issue for many enterprise users is that they often need to run applications that require administrator privileges," Moyer said. Click here to read more about the next steps for security. "Privilege Manager solves this problem by enabling administrators to configure an environment in which end-users can run all required applications and perform all authorized tasks without administrative privileges or administrator passwords, thus helping to protect against malicious use, malware and zero-day threats," he said. Even more interesting is the fact that Microsoft is publicly endorsing the product. "BeyondTrust Privilege Manager helps corporations that need to allow standard users to run applications that require administrative privileges on Windows Vista with UAC, enabled without any prompts or input required from the user," said Austin Wilson, Microsofts director of Windows Client Security Product Management. "I am pleased to see third-party security vendors such as BeyondTrust improve Vista, which is our most secure business client operating system. The combination of elevating approved applications transparently with Privilege Manager and running UAC in no prompt mode with Internet Explorer in protected mode provides a best of breed solution to the least privilege problem," he said. For customers like Omar Ghneim, a network administrator at EXCO Resources, Privilege Manager will be the catalyst that gets the company to move to move to Vista while continuing to use its critical line-of-business applications without any pop-ups. Read more here about why many people are confused by Vistas UAC. "Were looking forward to getting the best of both worlds—the benefits of Vista with a transparent Least Privilege security environment," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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