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Ransonware and User Modes

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#1 Warthog-Fan


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Posted 25 February 2016 - 08:29 PM

I have my computers set up to have an Administrator Account, and two User Accounts - one for me and one for my wife. I never use the Administrator account unless it is necessary.


Since it has been stated on this site that most problems with malware and viruses can be eliminated by not using an Administrator Account, I'm wondering if this also applies to the Ransomware programs that I've read about here. Does operating with a User Account provide protection (of a sort) from Ransomware getting on the computer?


Thanks for the info.

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#2 quietman7


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Posted 25 February 2016 - 08:37 PM

Crypto malware typically will run on non-admin accounts under the same privileges as the infected user and encrypt any files that are accessible to that user. Since crypto malware typically runs as the User, not as Administrator, you will not see a UAC prompt.

This is a quote from Lawrence Abrams (aka Grinler), the site owner of BleepingComputer.

Executables can run as the user who started it or can ask for elevated privileges to run as Administrator. CryptoLocker is happy to run as a non-admin and will thankfully only be able to encrypt those files that particular user has access to.

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#3 Didier Stevens

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 05:07 AM

Ransomware will also encrypt files if you are using a non-admin account. But ransomware needs write-access to the files it encrypts, so running with a non-admin account it will not be able to encrypt files owned by another account without write-access.

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