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.

  • 1
    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

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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.