Windows 7 inherited from its predecessor, Windows Vista, a
built-in feature that increases security by preventing unauthorized access and
mitigating the risks of potential security breaches into the system.
User Account Control lets standard users perform several
tasks that previously required administrator access, such as changing the time
zone or connecting to a secure wireless network, while administrators can run
most programs and tasks with standard user privileges.
When tasks that include administrator privileges occur, such
as installing software, adding changes in registry system or changing some of
the computer settings, the operating system temporarily suspends its activity
and prompts the users to decide whether he or she accepts or decline that
specific task, while also asking for his or her administrator credentials.
The default user account created during the installation in
Windows 7 is a protected administrator that would be prompted only when
programs try to make changes to the system’s configuration; when the user
modifies the operating system settings, UAC does not raise any flag.
Apparently this setting seems very comfortable, especially in
terms of usability, because the OS is not incessantly bugging the user with pop-up
windows demanding several clicks in order to allow the execution of a program.
Still, as already shown by security analysts, this default
value could easily transform into an unwanted security
flaw that could allow malware
to self-elevate to full administrative privileges and malicious
code to run with no trouble at all.