Least Privilege

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The principle of least privilege (POLP) is an information security term that refers to a design objective in computing that a given user should only be able to access the information and resources he or she requires for legitimate reasons. POLP states that every module of a system, such as a process, user or program should have the least authority possible to perform its job.

POLP helps maintain computer security. The user or component starts off with no privileges and is only given those considered necessary. While this seems like common sense, in reality the practice is difficult to achieve because more security systems assign rights based on membership in groups rather than as individuals.

Steps for implementing POLP include:

  • Map job functions privileges
  • Avoid assigning privileges directly to a guest or the public
  • Untangle the web of user entitlements
  • Monitor privileges
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