Why Using The Computer In Root Or Administrator Mode Is Bad For Your Security

In the Windows world, until recent changes in the last two operating systems, we were used to running in the administrator mode. That means if you were logged into an account in administrator mode, then everything that you did in that account would be done under the highest permissions available. This means that you can change important system files and do other stuff that could damage the computer. In UNIX based systems, this is not how they operated. In a UNIX based system, if you did anything that the computer deemed unsafe, you would be asked for permission to do it. You would have to type in the command “sudo” or “su” and then give you username and password. Only after that, would it give you permission to do what you were trying to do. Now in Windows 7, we have the same permission based system. But some people do not understand why there was a need for a change. They do not understand how dangerous it can be if you use your computer while you are the administrator. Hopefully in the next couple of paragraphs, we can explain why this is a bad thing.

beware of administrator mode

beware of administrator mode

Let’s start off by giving an example of why it can be so dangerous to use the computer while you are in admin mode. Let’s say that you are surfing the internet. All of the sudden, you come across this web page that you have never seen before. You go to it and you click the wrong link. Now this link is sending a dangerous piece of malware to your computer. It has some sort of code that is self downloading and installing. This means that it does not need your permission to install the program on your computer, it will do it itself. So now that the bad piece of software is on your computer, what happens next depends on what kind of system that you are running. If you are running a system that is run in administrator or root mode, then your computer will become infected and now you have a problem. If you have a computer that is run in normal mode and permission must be asked, then the new software will not be able to install on your computer and you may have saved yourself from becoming infected.

Some people do not like the fact that you always have to ask permission before doing something when you are not in admin mode. Sure, it can become a little annoying, but it better than having a strange piece of code takeover your system. Windows Vista was the first Windows system to implement the feature in this sort of manner but Windows 7 has really made it work. People did not like how Windows Vista handled asking permission. This caused many people to turn it off. With Windows 7, many people do not mind this feature as much because of the improvements made. Now you can get the inherit security of a UNIX based system on Windows.

Using the computer in a root mode is not the smartest thing that you can do. If you want to make sure that you are safe, then use the computer with administrator mode off.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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