User Accounts

A user account is a way for an individual to connect with a particular service, system, or computer network. User accounts help to identify individuals within the network and provide certain access levels and privileges, depending on what the account is intended to do.

Terms related to User Accounts: Account creation, account privileges, role based administration, authentication, authorization, root.

Every individual user with access to a specific IT resource or asset should have an individual user account. These accounts help computer security systems to decide if a specific user is authorized to access specific software, resources, or data.

A user account typically consists of several areas:

  • Credentials — the combination of logins, passwords, and other forms of authentication that a user needs to provide to gain access.
  • Privileges — rights to access certain parts of computer software, systems, and data, normally based on job roles, also known as role-based administration.
  • Configurations — information that allows a computer system to provide customized information to a user with a specific account.

User accounts can also be linked to other parts of the software, like an audit trail, account history, integration with other services, and the like. There are two main types of account — standard user accounts and superuser accounts, also known as administrator or root accounts.

A root user account is a special type of account that provides anyone with root access with high levels of privilege to administer the system. This type of access is often sought out by criminals and hackers due to the powerful commands it provides, and the ease of accessing sensitive systems, applications, and data.