New Report Shows 92 Percent of Critical Microsoft Vulnerabilities are Mitigated by Eliminating Admin Rights

February 3rd, 2009

BeyondTrust Analysis of All 2008 Microsoft Security Bulletins Finds Vast Majority of Vulnerabilities can be Diminished by Configuring End Users as Standard Users

PORTSMOUTH, NH. – February 3, 2009 — BeyondTrust Corporation, the first provider of Least Privilege Management solutions, today published research findings stating that the removal of administrator rights from Windows users is a mitigating factor for the vast majority of all Microsoft software vulnerabilities reported by Microsoft in 2008. The results demonstrate that by configuring users as standard users, companies can better protect themselves against malware and zero-day threats. Complete findings and methodology can be found online in a new report, titled "Reducing the Threat from Microsoft Vulnerabilities."

BeyondTrust’s findings show that among the 2008 Microsoft vulnerabilities given a "critical" severity rating, 92 percent shared the same best practice advice from Microsoft to mitigate the vulnerability: "Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights." This language, found in the "Mitigating Factors" portion of Microsoft’s security bulletins, also appears as a recommendation for reducing the threat from nearly 70 percent of all vulnerabilities reported in 2008.

Other key findings from BeyondTrust’s report show that removing administrator rights will better protect companies against the exploitation of:

  • 94 percent of Microsoft Office vulnerabilities reported in 2008
  • 89 percent of Internet Explorer vulnerabilities reported in 2008
  • 53 percent of Microsoft Windows vulnerabilities reported in 2008.

Further illustrating the benefits to enterprises of removing administrator rights from users, a recent Gartner report states, "The Gartner TCO model shows a significant reduction in TCO between a managed desktop where the user is an administrator, compared with a desktop where the user is a standard user. Among the most remarkable observations is that the model shows a 24 percent decrease in the amount of IT labor needed for technical support." Gartner, Inc., "Organizations That Unlock PCs Unnecessarily Will Face High Costs," Michael A. Silver, Ronni J. Colville, Dec.19, 2008.

"Companies face imminent danger from zero-day threats as new vulnerabilities continually crop up while patching efforts lag behind, and even worse, many threats exist undetected," said John Moyer, CEO of BeyondTrust. "Our findings reflect the critical role that restricting administrator rights plays in protecting against these types of threats. This is achievable in one simple step—adopting a strategy of Least Privilege security. BeyondTrust has helped over 500 companies equip their end users with those privileges needed to do their jobs, while protecting against zero-day threats and reducing risk."

BeyondTrust’s report, "Reducing the Threat from Microsoft Vulnerabilities" is accessible here.

About BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust Corporation, a pioneer in Least Privilege Management, enables enterprises to move beyond the need to trust users with excess privileges or administrator rights. BeyondTrust Privilege Manager was the first product to enable the security best practice of Least Privilege in Windows environments by allowing administrators to assign end-users permissions for required or selected applications. With Privilege Manager organizations can remove administrator rights and still allow end-users to run all required Windows applications, processes and ActiveX controls. By eliminating the need to grant administrator rights to end-users, IT departments can create a more secure, compliant and standard environment. More than 500 organizations worldwide in virtually every vertical industry rely on BeyondTrust Privilege Manager to secure their enterprises. For more information, please visit or register for a webinar at


Dave Bowker or Tiffany Archambault
Schwartz Communications, Inc.
(781) 684-0770