Best explanation why NOT to run as administrator/root

Subject: Best explanation why NOT to run as administrator/root
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2013 12:18:42 -0400


Who can recommend the best and most persuasively presented summary of why one should NOT log in as Administrator (or root) for every-day, ongoing computer use? To me, it's been a given for as long as I've been using networked computers. To my cow-orker, apparently not-so-much.

We were given a VM in which to run our apps (like Flare, GIMP, Visio, various other tools, etc.).
The server owner installed Windows Server 2008 SP2, and handed me the location and the Administrator password.
I created a regular user account for myself, and one for the other local techwriter in our office.
I started using my user account.
I gave the other guy his credentials AND the Administrator PW, since we are each other's backup, and I expected some sense from him.

He soon began logging in as Administrator, as a matter of course.
I said "stop that".
He said "Why? I know better than to break things, and besides, I had a problem with my username account."
I responded that if he had Administrator access, and still couldn't sort out his own user account, that, in itself, was an indication that he was not as knowledgeable as he imagined, and he should stop using "Administrator" as his daily workspace.

Even if he isn't deliberately tap-dancing on the Registry, or otherwise taking an axe to the system security, he's running Flare and other apps that could possibly include malware/spyware in some future update (if they haven't already). Part of our normal verification of webhelp that we produce is to run several browsers against it. I see that as another security hole, when run as Administrator. Mr. Co-techwriter is unconcerned and oblivious.
Factoids from me, like "40 percent of infected PCs were running up-to-date Anti-virus/anti-malware" carry no weight, possibly because it's me saying it.... hmm.... I know we're together 8 hours a day for a few years now, but I'm pretty sure that still doesn't make him my wife.... but I digress...

I'm resisting the temptation to "out" him, and instead am thinking of logging in as Administrator myself, changing the password, and then sharing that only with our manager.
This could cause some bad blood, so if there's a good "here, read this; I'm not making this up" site or page or blog that might be persuasive to an otherwise reasonably sane person... I'd rather try that first.

My Googling has returned a lot of piecemeal stuff and a LOT about Ubuntu and sudo vs root, which would not help the cause.

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