We introduced the hyperlink feature into Privilege Guard messages back in version 2.8, which allows IT admins to supply users with a link to information on an intranet or extranet. Although Privilege Guard messages are highly configurable, both in terms of display text and visual styles, there is only so much you can fit into a message, so having the ability to break out into a web page has proven very successful in making sure users are kept well informed as to why they are being prompted.
I wanted to write this post to highlight a few advanced use cases that you may want to try in your own Privilege Guard implementations, that may help you deliver a better experience to your end users, all using the message hyperlink option.
If you use a VOIP client on your desktops, you can leverage this in an end user message, giving end users one-click phone access to a helpdesk. There are two forms of hyperlink that can be used; callto: – which would use the default telephony client on the desktop, or you could use a specific protocol, such as skype: or gtalk: for establishing a Skype/Google sessions. To add a callto: link to your message for the skype client, add either of the following hyperlink URLs (echo123 is the free to use Skype test call service):
Use your policy to target applications which are prohibited, so as to provide users with a one-click link to call the helpdesk for support
Privilege Guard captures a lot of information about the user, the computer, the applications being executed, and also the Privilege Guard policy that triggered the message, all of which can be used within the message hyperlink as arguments. An example I like to use is linking to an online service like VirusTotal. With this service, you can submit files to check against a collection of antivirus engines, and determine if the file is a known risk. To do this, add a message to your policy with the following hyperlink URL:
Use your policy to target unknown or untrusted applications, such as downloaded installations or applications with unknown publishers
You can also use the hyperlink option to generate customized emails, using mailto, which enables you to generate an email template including the exact information you need. A good use case is for Challenge / Response helpdesk support where, as an alternative to a phone call, users can click on the hyperlink to create an email based request. To do this, add a hyperlink to your Challenge / Response message with the following example URL:
mailto:ITSupport@mycorp.com?subject=Request to Access Application&body=Avecto Privilege Guard - Request to unlock application.%0d%0a=================================%0d%0aProgram Name: [PG_PROG_NAME]%0d%0aProgram Publisher: [PG_PROG_PUBLISHER]%0d%0aProgram Hash: [PG_PROG_HASH]%0d%0aPath: [PG_PROG_PATH]%0d%0aChallenge Code: [PG_MSG_CHALLENGE]%0d%0aReason (Enter reason here):%0d%0a%0d%0a=================================
Use your policy to target applications requiring helpdesk authorization:
File links can also be added to message hyperlinks, which brings with it a variety of use cases. For example, you can use a file link as part of a self-serving software update procedure. If a new version of a desktop application is made available, you can use the hyperlink in combination with a blocking message to encourage end users to update the software themselves.
In this example, let’s assume there is a new version of Adobe Reader. Add a new blocking message to your policy, with the following hyperlink URL:
Use your policy to target old versions of Adobe Reader, and add a second policy to elevate the installation of the Adobe reader Installation package:
You could also use file hyperlinks to open custom support request dialogs, or other 3rd party applications to deliver seamless interaction with internal support systems.
The hyperlink feature is a very flexible mechanism for adding workflows to your end user messages. Give these examples a try to see how you can provide an even better experience for your users.
Edit: Privilege Guard has now evolved into the brand new security suite, Defendpoint, which encompasses Privilege Management, Application Control and Sandboxing. For more information, please visit www.avecto.com/defendpoint.
Kris Zentek, Senior Product Manager
Kris Zentek is a Senior Product Manager at BeyondTrust, focusing on Endpoint Privilege Management solutions. Based in the UK, he has over 20 years of experience working in the cybersecurity industry.