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Act As Part of Operating System

Posted on 2013-11-07
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Last Modified: 2015-06-23
We need to install an application that requires changes to the windows server (file/apps) user rights policies...  We need to add the user GROUPS to "Act as part of the operating system" and "Take ownership of files or other objects"... Unfortunately software vendor won't help us much on this.

Have you made this changes in your enviroment? What are the pre-cautions we need to take and what are risks associated with this? Any workaround for this?

I am reading MS notes..
1) Act as part of the operating system: This user right allows a process to impersonate any user without authentication. The process can therefore gain access to the same local resources as that user.

Processes that require this privilege should use the LocalSystem account, which already includes this privilege, rather than using a separate user account with this privilege specially assigned. If your organization only uses servers that are members of the Windows Server 2003 family, you do not need to assign this privilege to your users. However, if your organization uses servers running Windows 2000 or Windows NT 4.0, you might need to assign this privilege to use applications that exchange passwords in plaintext.

Caution: Assigning this user right can be a security risk. Only assign this user right to trusted users.

2) Take ownership of files or other objects: This security setting determines which users can take ownership of any securable object in the system, including Active Directory objects, files and folders, printers, registry keys, processes, and threads.

Caution: Assigning this user right can be a security risk. Since owners of objects have full control of them, only assign this user right to trusted users.
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Question by:mkanagar
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by:Dirk Mare
ID: 39631831
This is not something I would allow..

Can they not use the local system account.

Or as a work around create one domain user account and add that account to all of your workstations local administrator group, also allow this account to logon as service right..

It should not need more permissions than that.
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39631860
Is this a single user account named "Groups" or a group of user accounts - I can quite tell from your description?  Obviously this is not something you'd want to do unless there's absolutely no way around it.  If it's a single account that needs to have these rights on the server itself, then I'd say at the very least that you should create this account with the lowest level of file or other server-level permissions possible, and give it a very complex password, so that it's not easily hackable (or memorizable).  

Also, you would want to secure this server so that it's not accessible except by those users who have to run this application.
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Author Comment

by:mkanagar
ID: 39639903
Software vendor asking to
1) grant Applicaton-End-Users NT group (e.g. endUsersGroup) to "Act as part of the
operating system"

2) grant Application-Admin-Users NT group (e.g. adminUsersGroup) to both  "Act as part of the
operating system" and "Take ownership of files or other objects"

Just to clarify myself; what exactly these two does.. For example if I grant a user to "Act as part of the
operating system" or "Take ownership of files or other objects" user rights?
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39639932
Go to a command prompt and type "gpedit.msc" to open the group policy console.  Then navigate to the Computer Configuration/Windows Settings/Security Settings/User Rights Assignment.  Double-click to open the dialog box for the "Act as part of the operating system" (or any other) right, and look at the Explain tab.  This will tell you what that right does.
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Author Comment

by:mkanagar
ID: 39640762
hypercat,  I am looking for a possible and better/more secure workaround. Trying to see if anyone came across this and how they handled it.
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Hypercat (Deb) earned 400 total points
ID: 39641674
I work with a LOT of 3rd party software.  Often the requirements of the vendors are objectionable, but the problem is that also often they won't support or warranty in any way the performance of the software unless you follow their rules exactly.  

In a perfect world, the way you would handle this would be to put the vendor's software on a separate member server on your domain and follow their requirements.  Make the groups "EndUsersGroup" and "AdminUsersGroup" local groups on the member server with no rights or access to anything else on your domain, again so that the groups have rights only on that one server and exposure is limited to that one server at least. I hope that you're able to do this, as it's really the only sure way to work with the vendor and provide your users with the software they need.

You might also try to find out if the vendor provides access to any forums or discussion groups with other users of that software. Often this will give you access to experienced admins who have worked through this issue with this particular software and might have suggestions to offer.  It is really impossible for anyone to suggest a workaround for you who hasn't worked with this particular software package.
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Author Comment

by:mkanagar
ID: 39644855
Thanks hypercat. This could be a good workaround, if I don't get any other options from vendor.

From Microsoft technet "If your organization only uses servers that are members of the Windows Server 2003 family, you do not need to assign this privilege to your users. However, if your organization uses servers running Windows 2000 or Windows NT 4.0, you might need to assign this privilege to use applications that exchange passwords in plaintext."  

Since we are moving from Windows 2000 client/server to Windows 7 & 2008; I am trying to find out from Vendor if this still required in Windows 2008 and if the application support Windows 2008.

What has changed in Windows 2008/2003 from 2000 related to "Act as part of the operating system"?
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Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39645082
I couldn't say exactly what might have changed.  It's most likely authentication protocols and the method by which passwords are exchanged within the system.  I'm not enough of a security geek to know exactly how this might have changed between the Windows 2000 and Windows 2003/2008 operating systems.  I know, however, that there have been significant changes in general in security and how authentication protocols are used.
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39645102
Further, I can say that I know that passwords are not exchanged in plain text within a Windows 7/Windows 2008 domain. Windows 2008 stores all its known passwords (i.e., AD user passwords) in hashed format.
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by:Seth Simmons
ID: 40845789
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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