cron_sec, when enabled as the lightest module, implements key security similar to Drupal 7's enhanced key security for D6, and ptionally allows cron to run at an elevated permission level thought the use of switching the active user for the session to one specified in its configuration, and then switching the user back as the cron session ends to the anonymous user.
Motivation for writing this module resulted from a combination of using the revisioning module and link-checker. When link-checker's hook cron ran, it did a nice job of identifying moved links, and per the appropriate setting, tried to update the containing content with the new URL. But, the anonymous user didn't have (for obvious reasons) permissions through the revisioning module to publish revisions. So, instead, I'd have all these unpublished corrected pieces of content that I'd have to manually go through and publish. That was causing me unnecessary work.
So, by creating an authenticated user that could be active when cron ran, and giving that user the correct permissions, the problem went away.
The Sandbox Project page is at https://drupal.org/sandbox/sdsheridan/2067471 .
Git Repository Link: http://drupalcode.org/sandbox/sdsheridan/2067471.git/commit/cdf493f72fff...