Administrator Privileges

What are administrator privileges?

Administrator privileges are special permissions given to a user who needs to perform activities such as:

  • software installation
  • software configuration
  • setting up printers

Administrator privileges are only necessary when performing these activities.  Activities that a user might perform in the course of their daily work - administrative, research, or otherwise - should not require administrator privileges.

If you are the owner of your computer, you already have administrator privileges over that computer. For computers owned by Missouri S&T, administrator privileges must be requested. In the past, Missouri S&T has provided administrator privileges to all users who request it. This plan caused major security risks, which is why changes must be made.

Why can administrator privileges be dangerous?

Many modern day malware attacks are designed to take advantage of those who have administrator privileges. These attacks may try to:

  • install and run malicious software
  • install persistent software designed to last even after your machine has been rebuilt
  • disable your computer protection
  • get access to your machine and data at any time without being detected
  • get access to the credentials or data of others who have used or will use your computer

Capitalizing on the security risks inherent with administrator privileges can turn an attack from a mild inconvenience into something much worse.

 

What are we changing?

To keep you and the campus community safe, it is imperative that we follow the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency recommendations regarding least privilege, which state that "Only the minimum necessary rights should be assigned to a subject that requests access to a resource and should be in effect for the shortest duration necessary."

In accordance with these recommendations, Missouri S&T has implemented the Local Administrator Password (LAPS) tool as a way to continue to provide administrator privileges to users who require it. To learn more about this tool and to request access, refer to the LAPS information page.