Security+ Objective 1.1 – Differentiate among various systems security threats – Privilege escalation

• Privilege escalation
A privilege is the authority, right, or permission to perform certain activities. Escalation is to raise to another level (like the escalator at the mall). Put them together and you get someone who has privilege to a system, that has somehow raised it to a higher level. An example would be a bad guy who hacked a normal account, but really wants to get into the administrator account.

A real world example: When I was working in a computer repair shop, we were not allowed to issue refunds or void transactions. We always had to go to the owner of the shop for those kinds of activities. The owner was ALWAYS busy or gone and the customers who were asking for their money back were usually not in the mood to be patient. One day a co-worker was watching as the owner accidentally typed their password into the username box. They quickly backspaced it off the screen but it was too late. The next day, this co-worker said, “From now on, if you ever need to give a refund or void a transaction, just let me know and I can take care of it.” He had logged on as the owner and escalated his privileges in the system. Needless to say, he didn’t last too long after that.

So, any state of existing privilege being abused to gain another privilege is what we are talking about here. If you know that definition you shouldn’t have a problem answering any questions on the exam related to privilege escalation.

Go back to the Exam Objectives list

Be Sociable, Share!

1 comment so far ↓

#1 eastlandgrl on 10.18.10 at 3:38 am

interesting, thanks

Leave a Comment