In IT, the administrator manages computers, servers and networks, among other things, by setting them up and maintaining, updating, detecting and fixing system errors on them. In order to do this, an administrator has unlimited access rights to all systems of a computer or network. In the wrong hands, these full access rights become a security risk.

What does the term “administrator” mean in detail?

For the administrator, a so-called admin account exists on computers (and in networks and other systems). This admin account is usually associated with unrestricted access rights.

  • That is, the computer "recognizes" anyone as an administrator who logs in to the admin account.
  • In other words, anyone who has access to the admin account can control the computer as they wish.

In addition to the admin accounts, there are the so-called user accounts.

  • These are designed so that they work well for them, but even an ignorant user cannot do much damage to the computer system.
  • The access rights of these user accounts are thus restricted. For example, no system files can be changed or deleted here.

Many claims programs require the admin privileges of an administrator. The limited access rights of a user account also limit their potential damage.

Where do I encounter the topic of administrator in everyday work?

– If you work in a user account:

  • If your administrator interrupts you while working on the computer to install a new program
  • If you have gotten lost in a directory and receive notice that you cannot access a particular file (for example, because it is a system file).

– If you work in an admin account, if you want to install a new program, you only need to enter your password.

What can I do to improve my safety?

  • Use the admin account only if and as long as necessary.
  • Do not surf the internet.
  • Do not get email or read them while logged into the admin account.
  • Assign a very strong password for the admin account.
  • If possible, back up the administrator account using two-factor authentication.
  • Set up a user account that you use for all activities that do not require immediate admin rights.
  • If several people access your computer, set up a separate user account for each.
  • There are even guest accounts whose access rights are even more limited.

Further interesting information

If you would like to further study the subject of administration: a description of general security requirements for a proper IT administration from the Alliance for Cyber Security:

Example for Windows users: The Microsoft guide on how to create a user or administrator account in Windows 10. F

For Apple Users: Guides and Information on Setting Up Users, Guests, and Groups for the Mac in the macOS User Guide

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