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Forum Thread: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?

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SirTazOfMania Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 18th Nov, 2009 05:16
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Last edited on 19th Nov, 2009 08:33

Since Vista and now Win7, Many of us users are running as User not Administrator. My question is why this application requires Administrative rights to run? I understand the installation requiring Admin rights but not the regular usage.

Any comments on when this application will run under a User account?

Thanks,


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thedillpickl RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Contributor 18th Nov, 2009 05:48
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Hi SirTazOfMania;

Not knowing the useage of administrator and user for either Vista or Win7, I would presume that they are similar to the meaning in XP. The administrator has the ability to add & remove programs, to change certain settings critical to the function of the OS & hardware interface and most sensitive, remove or change any file. The user only has control over his part of the computer, data files desktop settings, etc. The user dosn't have the "rights" to change things globally.

Can you add & remove programs, partition hard drives or add new hardware (not a USB plug in) as a user? Does more than one person use the computer? Is this computer set up by someone else, a bussiness office supply or computer support company?

Sorry to not be of much help, perhaps someone knoledgeable in Vista & Win7 will answer shortly.


best of luck;
Fred

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SirTazOfMania RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 19th Nov, 2009 00:07
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Last edited on 19th Nov, 2009 08:33
Fred,

Windows Vista and 7 were the 1st & 2nd Windows Operating Systems that made it tolerable to run your account as a "User" A.K.A. "Standard User" which is similar to how Linux and Mac OS user accounts have been for years.

Running as an "Administrator" in Windows is the same as running as "Root" in Linux... which basically means you can do anything to the Operating System (delete files, rename, add/remove applications, etc.). Unfortunately, running your account as an Administrator also allows viruses, spyware, etc. to install and run (since Most Operating Systems don't know whether an application is good or bad). This is why an Antivirus application is so important to the health of your Computer.

Anyway, the reason for my post was "Why does Secunia PSI require Administrative rights to run?" It should be able to run using a "User" account. If you browse this forum you will see alot of people having problems auto-starting this application because they are running as a "User" and don't have the right to auto-run applications at start-up that require Administrator rights.

Sorry for being so long-winded.



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SirTazOfMania
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thedillpickl RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Contributor 19th Nov, 2009 04:30
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Hi SirTazofMania;

I suppose the quick answer then is that PSI is spyware. However, in this case it's use is benevolent. You are allowing PSI to monitor, collect and report critical information about software installed on your machine.

A side note: If you are running Linux in root, you are doing some type of maintenance or adding/removing software, etc. That dosn't necessarily cause you to be vulnerable. You would still have to allow something bad to happen. You are correct in saying that you do not run Linux that way.

Another side note: I don't know anything about Mac OS on the TI chipset, but am compelled by OS X running on Intel. I need more time & $$$ to go down that road though.


regards;
Fred

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MaritimeRider RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 19th Nov, 2009 06:40
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dillpickl.
Secunia is far from being spam. On the contrary,it is a security program. It is installed and does not just appear on your computer.
Now, administrative rights is also a form of security Since the title is administrator to prevent changes to your computer.To run it as the main acct. leaves you more open to hackers. Thus the reason this should be a separate acct.If a user's acct is hacked,less damage can be done.
From the start, I found this to be an annoyance and therefore I have disabled it.If the admin.rights are required, I use my user acct.
Now this is not recommended, but with the extra security software I have,and I am the sole user;it works for me.
Thus, it is a logical request to ask for admin. permission for a program that strives for 100% protection.
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SirTazOfMania RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 19th Nov, 2009 07:57
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Last edited on 19th Nov, 2009 08:31
When I first began beta testing this application I thought this was (and still do) really good software that does something to really help us Windows users keep our installed applications up to date and our systems secure and Secunia should be commended for putting this out for us.

My gripe is that since this software is simply monitoring the other software installed on my computer, why does it need Administrative rights? My anti-virus doesn't even need Administrative rights to run.


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Anthony Wells RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Expert Contributor 19th Nov, 2009 21:15
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Last edited on 19th Nov, 2009 21:18
As far as I can remember , OSI and then PSI were security checkers and suggested what you could do to update in a basic fashion .

The current version of PSI on my XP SP3 (like Fred - and I understand his explanation) lets me as single user and presumably "administrator" have quite detailed access , using the "toolbox" , to some integral parts of my PC . I'm not sure I would want to let any other person (user) to have the same access when I wasn't there , so to speak ; not if they could "change" programmes .

I use a "sandbox" , but doesn't "drop my rights" also work on these same principles . As is obvious , I'm non-techie , so could someone explain the "admin" problem with PSI and why it is a problem and not a security blanket , if you have time :)

Thanks
Anthony

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It always seems impossible until its done.
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thedillpickl RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Contributor 21st Nov, 2009 08:14
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Last edited on 21st Nov, 2009 08:59
SirTazOfMania & MaritimeRider;

First point, I didn't say PSI is spam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam , I said it was a type of spyware http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyware .

Quoting Wikipedia: "Spyware is a type of malware that is installed on computers and collects information about users without their knowledge".

You want to install PSI so it is collecting information with your knowledge. In this instance PSI can not be considered malware because it is doing what you want it to do.

Second point, MaritimeRider states: "On the contrary,it is a security program." I beg to differ. Secuina PSI is information gathering software. It provides no security features. It monitors the software installed on you machine and reports to you any information necessary for you to secure your system. It also provides information & helps you to that end.

Third point, SirTazOfMania said: "My gripe is that since this software is simply monitoring the other software installed on my computer...". I differ in opinion once again, PSI is not "simply monitoring" programs, it is: (A) Watching for installation/removal of programs. (B) Checking vendor websites for updates of installed programs that pose security risks and reporting that to you. (C) Watching for end of life notifications and reporting that to you. (D) Transferring anonymous information about your system to a Secuina database so they can keep track of what's going on for everyones benefit.

Please know this, it does not bother me if you consider what I say to be in error. After all, everyone makes mistakes. Just be sure not to misquote me, as I make enough mistakes on my own and do not require assistance.


sincerely;
Fred

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SirTazOfMania RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 21st Nov, 2009 08:47
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Last edited on 21st Nov, 2009 09:04
thedillpickl,

I understand what you are saying regarding my "monitoring" definition but I stand by the use of it... It's "monitoring" other applications and comparing them with Secunia's online databases.

RE your issue with MaritimeRider saying this is a Security program, well, you're splitting hairs now... It's a security program in the sense it helps you keep your applications current and alerts you when there is a "Security" vulnerability for an application on your system. So it could be considered a security program.

My point is the same, however... It should NOT require Administrator privileges to do this. If you want this application to Auto-run when your computer starts, forget about it. Windows Vista & 7 will NOT allow applications that require Administrator privileges to auto-run. The computer boots, you enter your password, the desktop comes up, and then the UAC for allowing Secunia PSI to auto-run pops up asking for administrator credentials to start. There is a work-around for all this using Task Scheduler but doing this creates a security issue and defeats the purpose of running as a Standard user.

Again, I commend Secunia on a great piece of software that solves a big problem for us Windows users in helping us keep are programs current. I just would like it to run without needing Administrator privileges.

Oh, by the way Fred, the "Would anyone happen to have a postage stamp or possibly two tin cans & some string I could borrow?" on the other forum thread was priceless :)

Thanks for taking the time to read my rants :)


--
SirTazOfMania
AMD Athlon 64
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Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
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Windows XP Professional 32-bit
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thedillpickl RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Contributor 21st Nov, 2009 09:10
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Hi SirTazOfMania;

My intention is not to offend anyone on this forum, neither is it to offer bad or misleading information. In this case I may have done both. If this is the case, I apologize. I will leave the discussion for others more knowledgeable.


regards;
Fred


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Anthony;

I'm sorry if you disagree about the "security v. information" software issue. Maybe we could discuss it elseware if you like.

BTW I have to ask, do you wear short pants when you play in the sandbox?


see ya;
Fred

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SirTazOfMania RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 21st Nov, 2009 09:29
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Fred,

No offense taken. I noticed you on a few other threads helping others and giving some good advice. Sometimes, when we are sitting in front of our monitors, we read something and it registers differently for different people. That's what makes us all human.

I only started this thread because the startup issue is driving me crazy. I like this application, except for this one problem.

Been great chatting with you.


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Anthony Wells RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Expert Contributor 21st Nov, 2009 13:08
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Last edited on 21st Nov, 2009 13:24
Now then children , no squabbling in my sandbox - even if it's a shiny Chrome one today (courtesy of you know who :)) . As it happens , Mr Nosey , down here on the "Med" , I also wear short pants for swimming in the sea (being an ex Beach/Sea Lifeguard ) , red ones if you must .

The semantics are interesting as our Danes use the terms "insecure" and "secure browsing" on their Tabs ; whilst they only used to collect info to detect "program vulnerabilities " and display their advice for you perusal , nowadays ,they offer download solutions/patches which "you" choose "yourself" to download ; plus file access with "open folder" and "ignore folder" links in their most useful "toolbox" . PSI may not be a "security" programme as such , being a programme vulnerability" checker , I do consider it a vital part of my "security" system ** (FWIW it's kept next to my "sandboxie" and "security suite") .

All this only seems to add to my feeling that PSI should either be "password" protected or need "admin" access . I'm not sure Secunia would switch this in free software .

Your insistence and frustration with your OS is probably understandable from your point of view SirTaz , but you still have not answered my original query as to why my "safety/security blanket" would be better if PSI did not need "admin rights" on my XP PC . You say you have a work around which reduces your safety , so apparently do the IE security settings required for PSI to 'phone home . What would I need to do and why , in non-techie words please :)) , to retain my current levels of security ?? Why should I support you , other than my selflessness and willingness to put myself at risk ??

Calm waters for you all ,
Anthony

**"Drive by malware" exploits (a huge problem) seem to have a love in with insecure/out of date versions of Flash Player and Java .


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It always seems impossible until its done.
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SirTazOfMania RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 21st Nov, 2009 22:01
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Anthony,

PSI does not change any settings on your computer security-wise, it simply tracks and notifies you on the status of software installed. There are other applications such as "SUMo" which also checks to ensure you have current versions of software installed. None of these other apps require Administrator privileges to run. There is no reason it should require Admin privileges. Phoning home. as you put it, does not require Admin privileges.

"Your insistence and frustration with your OS is probably understandable from your point of view SirTaz , but you still have not answered my original query as to why my "safety/security blanket" would be better if PSI did not need "admin rights" on my XP PC." I've been discussing PSI running as Admin on Win7 & Vista, not XP. In XP you are already running as an Admin since all profiles created on XP are Administrators by default so none of the issues I am having affects you. If you changed your profile to a Standard User on XP, you would get error messages constantly, applications would refuse to even run or auto-run. Win7 and Vista make running as a Standard User as easily as Linux and OS-X do. The exception to this on my machine is PSI which cannot auto-run without Admin privileges.

"You say you have a work around which reduces your safety , so apparently do the IE security settings required for PSI to 'phone home . What would I need to do and why , in non-techie words please :)) , to retain my current levels of security ??" If an application is running with Admin privileges, it allows any vulnerability in that application access to your entire computer system whereas applications running as a Standard user have no access to system areas such as Windows directory or Program Files directory. Almost all malware and viruses need Admin privileges to run. This is why Linux & OS-X users are safer than Windows users when it comes to malware because users do not have Admin privileges. Ask anyone running Linux or OS-X if they would ever run their computers with "Root" (Administrator) privileges.

Thanks for the reply and comments.



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SirTazOfMania
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Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Windows Vista Business 32-bit
Windows XP Professional 32-bit
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Anthony Wells RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Expert Contributor 21st Nov, 2009 23:43
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Last edited on 22nd Nov, 2009 01:53
Thanks SirTaz , I may be getting somewhere .

The inherent insecurity MS introduced with XP and ActiveX's - or around that time , so I remember reading - is partly addressed in Vista and more so in 7 by letting you loose on the web without needing "admin privileges/rights" (guessing that's a bit like "drop my rights" with less hassle).

Whilst I cannot improve my security without recourse to sandboxes etc . and PSI does not care who is in charge of my PC , you would retain the improved malware protection of the newer OS's (Linux style) if PSI joins the band and autoruns without needing "admin" clearance .

How one protects oneself from one's PC co-user's forays into the ether has little or nothing to do with it directly .

If I'm more or less correct so far , the next question must be what is Secunia's take on this and can it be changed easily enough or not , at "no cost" ; also bearing in mind their base is CSI .

Please correct me where I'm wrong :((

Anthony

PS : Forgot to ask about "downloading rights" as say in the PSI solution that is offered??

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SirTazOfMania RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 22nd Nov, 2009 02:58
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Anthony,

You are correct. BTW... I manage 16 workstations and a file server at work and I've used the "Drop my rights" app. a few times. However, with XP Pro you can perform a registry edit that adds "User" to Local Security Policies and once that's done, create a software restriction policy for any internet facing app. with the privileges of a Standard User. Works great for reducing viruses and malware on XP Pro.





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SirTazOfMania
AMD Athlon 64
3GB Ram
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Windows Vista Business 32-bit
Windows XP Professional 32-bit
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thedillpickl RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Contributor 22nd Nov, 2009 03:34
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Just a thought;

Refreshing my memory about ActiveX on Wikipidia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ActiveX ,I learned that the vulnerability is not so much ActiveX itself, as the way it lets the IE browser interact with web sites, in particular. To ungeek it, if you download a funky ActiveX on a disreputable site the darn thing could take over Windows! I'm begining to see why so many of you won't use IE.

Just thinking out loud;
Fred

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SirTazOfMania RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 22nd Nov, 2009 03:56
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Fred,

Yeah... Microsoft in it's infinite wisdom created ActiveX. Great idea, bad implementation. They should have sand-boxed them and given them limited access to the OS. ActiveX controls are basically mini-applications which, when a user has Admin privileges, allows the ActiveX control to do anything it wants to.

Keep in mind that Firefox extensions are really not much better. Mozilla is going to be making changes in the way plugins work in 3.7 but they should be running sand-boxed or in a Protected mode.



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SirTazOfMania
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Anthony Wells RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Expert Contributor 22nd Nov, 2009 16:27
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None of this answers your original question , SirTaz .

As I "understand" and as Maritime Rider might confirm , the UAC in Vista is/can be a pain for a lot of people ; but it is much improved in 7 and offers real security advantages which PSI complicates (a bit/lot ??).

Secunia philosophy , as mentioned in the PSI settings "tab" , in part means getting as many of the non-technical users to update however/as many programmes as they can ; to this end PSI offers a "download solution" . As in my PS: I posted earlier , does PSI need to be running under "admin" to do this on all/every/any OS?

Only Secunia will be able to answer/clarify your question , I guess ; you could wait to see if they drop in or you could prompt them with an Email to support@secunia.com and then let us know what they say .

Thanks for the registry edit tip , luckily my "sandboxie" seems to do everything I need FTM .

Tank you all for bearing with my elementary questions , my "professionals" are busy rebuilding a house and not available .

Take care
Anthony

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It always seems impossible until its done.
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MaritimeRider RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 22nd Nov, 2009 21:24
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Dare I add a comment.This thread could be ongoing until infinity.I was indeed surprised to note the amt. of posts that followed such a simple question that was partly answered in the first posted comment.Recognize that although you may not be techy smart; many posters are new users and /or even less experienced and look to the site for answers. Each day we learn something new and all users have something to offer.
Taz-as a corporate user there is someone delegated to a specific job description. Now, if the running of the computers on site are my responsibility, I surely would not open the site up to all users able to make changes.
As a private user,again, I must control changes to my computer in the same way,even though I am the primary user or if an occasional user utilizes my system. Here is where administrative rights enter the picture
If I leave it as is or disable admin. rights, it is solely my responsibility not Secunia, and not MS.The program will still run.
Please note however, I am the sole user and no one else has access to my computer.That is why I am comfortable with this.
I do notice that many times, users take statements personally;
For some even with experience,still have this issue. The forum is a learning tool only.Everyone has something to offer.There are no blue ribbons but mutual respect.
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MaritimeRider RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 22nd Nov, 2009 21:36
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Tony, you are absolutely correct. Have not tried OS7 but,several articles I read eluded to this
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SirTazOfMania RE: Why does Secunia PSI require Adminstrative Rights to run?
Member 23rd Nov, 2009 02:51
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MaritimeRider,

You said... "If I leave it as is or disable admin. rights, it is solely my responsibility not Secunia, and not MS. The program will still run." NO, THE PROGRAM WILL NOT RUN IF YOUR USER ACCOUNT IS A STANDARD USER ACCOUNT. THIS IS MY POINT!!! This is what this entire thread was about. Perhaps I have not being Clear and for that I apologize.

PSI will run fine as long as you have Admin privileges. If you are a Standard User, this app will NOT run. You must elevate the app and give it Admin privileges before it will run.





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SirTazOfMania
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