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How to Secure Your Digital Life

Lesson 9 of 18

Why Administrator Accounts Are a Terrible Idea

Marc Goodman

How to Secure Your Digital Life

Marc Goodman

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Lesson Info

9. Why Administrator Accounts Are a Terrible Idea

Lesson Info

Why Administrator Accounts Are a Terrible Idea

What is an administrator account? An administrator account is a type of account that let's you access a computer that has maximum privileges. You need to be the administrator of a computer in order to do all of that backend stuff that makes significant changes to the machine. If you want to install software, if you wanna delete software, if you want to do upgrades and the like, you generally will require administrator access. Administrator access is VIP access, it can do whatever it wants. Think of it like the velvet rope that you see at the clubs. If you've got administrator access, you can do whatever you want on any of your machines, including installing malware. The majority of computer malware viruses and trojans in order to install on your computer, in order to infect your machine, they require administrator access. If you don't grant them administrator access, many, many, many of these threats cannot install. So you need to pay attention. If for example, you want to know well ho...

w do I know if something's trying to infect me? Pay close attention to what goes on on your machine. If you click on a link and you are logged in as administrator and that link is infectious, if it goes out to malware, if you're logged in as administrator, then the link will execute and the malware will install on your machine. Because it has full permission to do so. If you download a PDF and you're logged in as administrator, if you download an Excel spreadsheet and you're logged in as administrator and you click on an infected file, the malware will install in the background and you will never know. If however you are not logged in as administrator and instead you are logged in as a standard user, you will see a pop-up screen like this. Hey, we see you want administrative access to the computer. Why? Enter your password to continue. You should never, ever, ever, ever, need administrative access when you click on a link. You should never need administrative access to open up a PDF file. Consider this like the blue and red lights of the police car behind you. If you see that pop-up telling you to enter your admin password, that's a warning. It's telling you to slow down. If you want to avoid the computer version of Ebola, do not run your computer as an administrator. Instead, make sure that you only surf as a standard user. Now, you may be asking how do I know if I'm the administrator? How do I know if I'm a standard user? There's a very simple way to tell. If there is only one account on your computer, you by default have to be the administrator. There has to be somebody who can install software updates, delete files. So how many of you have just one account on your computer? You are the administrator and that means you're doing everything as the administrator. Which means if you click on anything, you can be infected with anything. Don't run your computer as the administrator. Instead create a second account. Keep one account as the administrator and make a new account which is a standard user account. Or you can do it in a verse way, which I'll explain in a moment. First, how do you do this? On the Macs, just go to settings, click on users and groups. And you can see all of these different accounts here. It turns out that the current user is admin. As I mentioned, that's dangerous. Well but on that account I have all of my bookmarks for my website and I have all of my documents and all that other stuff, I don't wanna create a new account and lose everything. Don't worry, you don't have to. There's a much simpler way to do it. Create a second account. Make that account an administrator. Once you have created that administrator account, it's up and running, you've rebooted, now you can go back to your old account and you can change the level of it's access to standard user. Again, so you don't have to go ahead and screw with all your old data, you don't have to lose anything, just create a brand new administrator account. And then once you've done that, log in and change your old account to a standard user account. And the way you would do that is just go into user groups, hit add and the little check box looks like this. Allow user to administer the computer, turn that off on the account that you're using on a daily basis. And so take out admin privileges from that basic account that you're using all the time. You can do the same thing in Windows as well. Go the Start button. You can either right-click on a name here and it will show you whether or not you're the administrator in some versions of Windows. In others, you can just go into settings, accounts, and there you click on family and others. And you can change the account type there. Now, moving forward from this day on, you should do all of your shopping, your surfing, your banking, the overwhelming majority of what you do online should always be as a user account. You should always be running a user account. Only use the administrator account when it's necessary. And be sure that it's necessary, because malware and viruses are going to do everything they can to trick you to enter in your administrator password. If you yourself didn't just download a new piece of software or try to delete something that you're aware of, be super cautious about putting out your admin password. Now, if you follow this one step alone, I have some really, really, great news for you. This is like Super Bowl of cyber security achievement 101. If you stop using administrator accounts, according to a study by Microsoft and Avetco Security, removing admin rights mitigates 97% of critical Microsoft vulnerabilities, including 95% of vulnerabilities against Microsoft Office, 98% against the Windows operating system itself, and nearly 100% of attacks against Internet Explorer. How many of you are on Windows? Okay, would you like to avoid 100% of some of these vulnerabilities? This is so powerful. How many of you knew about the admin stuff before you came here today? Okay, a few of you. This can make a really big difference. Go home and make this change. Why? Because it is yuge. If you wanna be the best number one super genius, biggest ever cyber security expert in the world who's had the greatest turnout for all of your cyber events in the history of the world, do this. Questions on administrator accounts? Yes, sir. So in the example on the Mac, it looks like what you do is you're creating two admin accounts and then you change one of them to just a regular user. Did I follow that close? Correct. You need to always have at least one admin account on the machine. So if your current account is an admin account, you need to create a second admin account. Once you've created that second admin account, log in and go back into the settings that I showed and change your old account, the one that you've been using for years, back to standard user. You won't lose any of your data, all of your information, bookmarks, documents, histories, will all be there. It's just that from that point on if you click on an infected document or an infected link, it shouldn't have the ability to execute. Okay, thank you. Cool.

Class Description

Are you ready for a proven, insanely simple plan to lock down your digital life, defend yourself against hackers and reduce your cyber risk by up to 85%? How to Secure Your Digital Life is a one-day program that has helped tens of thousands of people and can help you finally achieve peace of mind for all your online activities and digital life. With cyber attacks at an all-time high—and rising every day—you owe it to yourself and your family to learn the critical art of cyber self-defense. If you don’t protect yourself, who will?

Did you know...

• Everyday malicious hackers around the world release nearly 1 million new malware threats.

• Antivirus software only catches 5% of new threats targeting your computer.

• Identity theft strikes a new victim every two seconds in the United States, and children are more than 50 times more likely to suffer identity theft than adults.

• The average American has over 130 online accounts today; a number predicted to rise to over 200 by 2020.

• Ransomware attacks were up 250% in 2017 and are expected to cause nearly 12 billion dollars in damage by 2019.

• Nearly 600,000 Facebook accounts are hacked on a daily basis.

• According to IBM Security, 95% of data breaches can be traced back to human error.

Technology companies, app makers, and social media firms are vacuuming up every scrap of private data they can, including your location, personal photos, dating habits and entire browsing history. They can even remotely activate your phone’s camera or microphone—all without your knowledge. All of this personal data can be used against you, to determine whether you are offered that next job, promotion, car loan, or mortgage.

Today’s hackers, organized criminals, fraudsters, online predators and cyber bullies are threatening you, your family and your money on a daily basis. Don’t be an easy target, learn how to fight back. You may have heard privacy is dead and there is nothing you can do to protect yourself. This is not true. Companies and criminals alike want you to think that—don’t fall for it.

Small steps can make a huge difference in your personal and professional cybersecurity, and we’ll show you all the insider tips and secrets you need. There’s no such thing as perfect security, but after this class, you can  be vastly more protected and secure than you are today and Marc Goodman, the cyber security expert, who has helped tens of thousands of people protect themselves and take charge of their digital lives, is the guy to teach it to you.

Marc is the author of Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It. Future Crimes is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and was Amazon’s Best Business Book of the Year. Marc has an extensive background in global security and law enforcement, including work as a street police officer, undercover investigator and senior advisor to INTERPOL and the US Government. His pioneering work on cybercrime investigation has been featured on CNN, NPR, Larry King, PBS, the Tim Ferriss Podcast, and TED.

In this pioneering course on How to Secure Your Digital Life,  Marc shares with you the secrets to protecting yourself online and how to use the very best of the technological tools we depend on for our modern lives. You’ll learn the basics of cyber self-defense and quick, specific actionable steps to improve your privacy, security, and safety in the online world.


In this class you will learn:

• How to reduce your cyber risk by up to 85% or more.

• The #1 online security habit that changes everything

• Why experts who tell you privacy is dead are dead-wrong

• How to finally master and organize all your passwords in a simple easy to manage system

• Why you need to avoid using dangerous “administrator accounts” and how you are using them without even knowing about it

• How to use a Virtual Private Network to secure your connections when traveling, at the local coffee shop or home

• How to protect yourself and your children from identity thieves and scammers eager to take your hard-earned money

• About the rarely used, totally free tool that can make it nearly impossible to hack your online accounts

• How to protect yourself from the exponentially growing ransomware threat and how to prevent hackers from destroying all of your emails, photos, videos, and sensitive documents

• How to lock down your mobile phones against hackers, theft, and spyware

Whether you are a complete cybersecurity beginner or an experienced user, his class is made for anybody who uses the Internet, a computer or mobile phone and will cover Windows, Mac, iPhones, and Android devices. What you don’t know about Internet safety and security can harm you, your family and cost you your life savings. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a global cybercrime expert how to protect yourself and your digital future. This comprehensive, easy to understand, fun and the engaging course will crush your cybersecurity doubts. Defend yourself once and for all. Now’s the perfect time to take the next step to a safer, more secure digital future.  

Class Materials

Free Bonus Material

Resource Guide

Adobe Stock Get Started Download

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Update Protocol

Your Purpose Focused Digital Protection Plan

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Joyce Haven

Marc's class provides an excellent road map for making your online life safer. He provides clear examples and great resources that makes it easy to implement better personal security against identity theft and all manner of online scams. He's funny and engaging, and extremely encouraging. It was easy to go home and implement his plan. It also gave me the tools I needed to help my elderly mother safeguard her online presence as well. Great class, I highly recommend it.


Marc not only is a true and leading expert in cyber security, he also has a great way of teaching through a mix of compelling story telling and concrete "to-do's". The class is both compelling and extremely useful. I cant believe that this is not a required course at every high school and university. These are the real life skills we all need and Marc makes the complicated accessible. Great teacher, great class! I highly recommend it!

a Creativelive Student

Great course! This has given me so many tools to be able to better secure my digital life. I am eager to start implementing this info. Marc went over a serious amount of material in a one day class. It would be great if he does more classes at creative live. Thank you so much. I just turned on auto updates for my laptop operating system software!