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Windows Console App vs Service

I would like to extend the question at the above post, as the previous answers did a great job of helping me understand the difference between a service and not a service.

The question I have now, is with applications that require to be up 24/7, what security concerns there are with a user that is logged in, vs the service not requiring a user to be logged into the machine. Obviously, if a user walks away without locking, that's an issue (and with redundancy, that's more than one vector of attack), but what other concerns should I be looking at to help my team understand that we're better off using a service for stuff that needs to be up 24/7?

Additional info, the core is on an SS7 network, with some functions migrating to IP (VoIP and mobile, for instance), so the focus of our security concerns are getting wider.

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    A Windows Service does have a login. But it runs in a separate "window station" and a different security context. – Robert Harvey Oct 17 '16 at 15:13
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Services usually run as one of "Local System", "Local Service", or "Network Service".

The first of those is quite powerful and has a lot of control over the computer. The other two have much less power than even a limited desktop user. They don't have user credentials. This makes them safer in the event of a security compromise - there's few places they can write to.

If the application is supposed to be running 24/7, there's not really any alternative to running as a service, because otherwise you'd either have to have a human monitoring it or use an autologin with consequent reduced security.

  • Thanks for linking to that info. I do realize there are security issues related to how things are currently being done, but I have to convince some old school coders who have been on the same project for so long that they are still writing code in cuniform. ;) – EricO Oct 18 '16 at 13:27

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