At a Glance
Note: This file is no longer offered at the external link provided by the vendor. PC World is attempting to locate the file.A growing number of security tools are taking a new approach to fighting malicious software. Rather than blocking each virus, they aim to limit malware's power to cause harm even if it gets in. One of the better free apps that adopts this preventive strategy is DropMyRights, a small program that opens selected programs under limited user rights.
Developed by Michael Howard, a Microsoft senior security program manager, it has been around since 2004; though Howard works for Microsoft, the company doesn't market the app. It works with any program, but before using it you need to make some quick changes. After installing it, you must create a shortcut for each program that you want to use with it (or you must modify the existing one). Howard provides full instructions with screen shots at his Microsoft Security Developer Center page. (Note: As of 11/08, this link no longer works, so it appears that this program is no longer supported. We are attempting to resolve the matter. --Editor)
If you click a Web link in another program, such as Word, your default browser will start normally, without DropMyRights protection (unless it is running with DropMyRights, too). To get the extra security, copy and paste the link after starting your browser via the specially prepared shortcut.
Microsoft plans to include a "protected mode" in Vista that will run IE 7 without admin privileges, much as DropMyRights does. Redmond is also trying to take the aggravation out of running day-to-day with a LUA (least-privileged user account), though current Vista betas suggest that it still has some work to do.
Click here for more information on the new types of security tools that proactively limit the power of viruses and other malicious software to infiltrate and damage your system.