Cancel or allow?

by ron on March 23, 2007

Mac AdWindows Vista has a new feature called User Account Control (UAC). The premise is that if you are running as a local administrator of the machine (which is very common) you could have your system compromized by software running under your user context.

Since you’re running as an administrator, then malicious software can completely take control of your systems. Not a good thing.

Unix admins have known for many years that you would have to be crazy to run your day to day user tasks as a local admin (called “root” in Unix-speak). Unix admins always make sure that they run their day to day tasks on a separate user account with diminished priviledges. If they need to do something where they need admin rights, then they simply temporarily elevate their security level, do the admin task, and then revert to their normal lower priviledge account.

This is a standard practice for all Unix admins everywhere.

Windows admins and users almost never do the above though, partly because doing so was not only impractical but also almost technically impossible….at least with Windows versions up to Windows XP.

In Windows Vista that has been fixed. Even though you are a local admin of the computer, whenever you do anything that could potentially harm or modify the system (such as going to the system control panel and many other types of tasks), the system will prompt you whether you would like to allow the elevation of priviledges in order for this admin task to go ahead. You either click on the “Continue” button or the “cancel” button.

Some users have become irritated with the repetitive prompting, and elect to turn this new security feature off.

Personally, I’m more than happy to click on a “continue” button every now and again in order to greatly improve the security of my system……but maybe I’m the exception to the rule, since I’m so paranoid about security.

Mac OSX also has this same feature, but you don’t get prompted as often as you do under Windows Vista.

Anyway, today I came across the latest Mac Ads released by Apple, that poke fun at the Windows platform, and UAC in particular.

Call me a geek, but it cracked me right up. This has got to be the best Mac Ad so far.

It would be great to see Microsoft develop a sense of fun and comedy in some of their ads (and consider poking some fun back at Apple)…..but I doubt that will happen.

Here’s the list of all Mac Ads, and here’s the security video I’m referring to above, which is very funny.



{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.