The operating system is the software component that provides abstraction of physical hardware, and provides a generalized model for application software to execute without the need for specific hardware knowledge. Questions on the topic of operating system security should use this tag; you may also ...

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Monitoring system calls (in a reliable and secure way)

It there a reliable method of “monitoring” system calls under Linux? There is strace for example to monitor system calls and signals. Is there a way for a process to dodge out of strace? If yes, is ...
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How to manually check for rootkits on a server

Does anyone have a general step by step list on how to try discover rootkits on a Linux or Solaris server? I'm looking for to to manually find the rootkit, not by automated software. For example: ...
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Forensic research: What OS to use [closed]

I have been given an assignment from my school, in wich I have been given a Virtual image of a compromised system. The first thing I need to do is setup a environment to wich we can mount the image. I ...
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Is CentOS a good choice from a security perspective?

How secure is the CentOS Linux distribution? I noticed there were times when there were no up-to-date patches for some version of CentOS (e.g., 5.6). I read this on some mailing list that I can't ...
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Practical non-government uses of Biba, Bell-LaPadula, etc. models

For example, the Biba model is now hanging out in current versions of Windows. Things downloaded from the Internet are tagged as such. Internet (low) stuff can't alter user (medium) stuff which isn't ...
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Alternatives to the “open PC” security model

Today, PCs (laptops, desktops, etc.) generally work under what I'll call the "open PC" security model. Users have full, system administrator/developer-level access to their own machine. Users can ...
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What is preventing the widespread common use of MAC-type systems?

Overall question what is preventing the uptake of MAC systems such as SELinux/AppArmor in corporate and desktop computing environments? Why don't you think it isn't already widespread? I do not ...
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What is your default umask set to?

What is your default umask set to? Did you run into any problem setting a stricter default umask?
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Do randomized PID bring more security?

What is the concrete advantage of using random PIDs instead of traditional sequential ones? Some times ago, I've read an article in the french magazine MISC (no. 74 - July/August, 2014) publishing a ...
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Why shouldn't I run other applications on a Firewall?

If I want to use Ubuntu 11.04 as a Firewall in SOHO environment, then I just can't figure out what is the bad thing about installing GUI on it (e.g.: XFCE)? The only opened port to the world (wan ...
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Security of different OS

At my work we are given a computer to set up at home so if we ever feel like working from home we can do so. The thing is that whenever it comes to developing for java I always prefer using windows or ...
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Browsing on a USB OS (Linux) safe from malware?

Let's say I have a computer. It's a personal computer - the one you'd typically find in homes. In this scenario, it's running Windows XP SP3, although it could run 7, Vista, etc. I have a USB drive ...
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What prevents this exploit from working (unix SUID)?

If I have a user on a unix system where Im allowed to create new files, what prevents me from downloading an executable file onto that system which is already SUID'ed to root on a different system? ...
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How expensive is it to guess a 15 character password, and should I be worried?

I'm currently using AES encryption (at home) on GNU/Linux (one of LUKS AES-256 variants with xts) and on Windows 7 (Truecrypt) with a 15 characters password (alphanumeric lowercase only plus _). ...
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Remote return into libc attack

It is often shown that non-executable data segemnts are possible to bypass through return-to-libc attacks. It's evident on /bin/sh but is it also possible to invoke a remote shell?
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How nmap guesses the operating system?

nmap has the capability to guess the operating system with the option -O. I was highly surprised that it can find the correct kernel or service pack. * How nmap guesses the operating system? * What ...
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Verify Mac firmware is not hacked…how to do?

I have a late model Mac computer. I allowed someone to plug in a USB drive, and my network activity changed afterwards. Normally, Little Snitch will report every app that uses the internet. Every ...
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How to gain a shell?

I'm doing an exercise (exploit-exercises.com) that requires me to gain access to a shell running as another user. My question is this: I can create application that is guaranteed to be run by the ...
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Where and how do operating systems save passwords for user accounts?

Where do operating systems (e.g. Windows) save their passwords? Do they store them in plain text? Do they use hardware modules such as TPM? Are these methods generally considered secure?
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How effective is something like Deep Freeze against boot sector infections?

I work for an embedded system manufacturer and on our older generation systems, which are powered by Windows Embedded, a number of customers have been experiencing virus infections. Due to the real ...
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What does “sandboxing” mean for Chrome OS? [duplicate]

I read about Chrome OS in the security section, and I was wondering what the meaning of "sandboxing" that they keep mentioning is. Is this sandboxing like Selinux or Apparmor ?
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Is it safe to attach a potentially malicious hard drive to a Solaris machine?

We bring in hard drives from un-trusted sources and would like to ensure that they will not contain any harmful content. What kind of risk is there for Solaris? As in, if Solaris is running, and I ...
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How do I know my tools aren't compromised? [closed]

After reading different articles, most notably/concerningly: If the NSA has been hacking everything, how has nobody seen them coming? Ken Thompson's Hack (more the concept than specifics) I am ...
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How effective is the Mac Open Firmware password protection?

I have used Mac's Open Firmware password protection before and I've always wondered how effective it actually is at protecting my stuff. [assuming a good password] Would does the firmware password ...
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Retrieving OSx Keychain passwords

I have a computer forensics style osx login.keychain file that I am trying to find the passwords from. I have a very weak mac which I used crowbarkc on to try and brute force but the horsepower is ...
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Virtualization as a layer of security for desktop computers?

Given the amount of 3rd party plugins required to browse the web, I've been compelled to virtualize my online habits to gain an additional layer of security. There is of course some obvious ...
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What differences are there between built-in Administrator and other Administrators?

Are there any significant differences in the rights, privileges, permissions, or other powers held by the built-in Administrator account, and those held by non-built-in Administrator accounts?
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What are the security implications of enabling WINRM on all domain members?

As Powershell becomes more and more popular, it appears that using WINRM may end up being a better option than using PSEXEC from SysInternals for remote management. Given that WINRM is disabled by ...
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How can I recover encrypted files after system reinstallation

I had a file which contains images and videos, I was using the windows 7 ultimate and I had encrypted the file. Now I have copied that file to my hard disk and format that operating system and again. ...
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How is the password prompt going to protect me from ruining my computer?

On Unix based systems, I'm often prompted to enter my password before installing or running a program. Why does this protect me? If I'm running a kiosk, I understand that a password might prevent ...
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Are the Trends of Type II Hypervisors and Newer Applications a Security Issue?

It seems that every time I have a new 'binge' at using the likes of VirtualBox or VMWare (the Type II version), they've introduced even more high-level features, often ones that remove layers between ...
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How do I apply a security baseline to Windows 2008 R2?

I've setup a Windows 2008 R2 server with an Active Directory Domain Services role. I would like to apply the Specialized Security – Limited Functionality (SSLF) security baseline to it, but am unsure ...
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Does it matter which platform a file is scanned on for malware?

Different operating systems use different file types and file systems. Does it make a difference to a virus scan which system it is being run on and what type of malware it's looking for? I ask ...
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OSes that are mathematically proven to be 100% (or 99%) secure?

Are there any? What are their names? Are they publicly available/downloadable/installable?
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Monitoring a specific application for creation or modification of files

I don't know if I'm looking for a file integrity monitoring software here. Basically let's say we have firefox or chromium, let's say the user is watching a youtube video, then we'll find that video ...
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Is it useful to determine the name of the server software while doing a penetration test?

Getting the name of the server software through netcat or curl or any other method, is really useful? I mean, OS fingerprinting is useful in order to tailor an attack. For example with regard to OS ...
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Securing data on laptop's hdd

I was wondering which is the best way to secure/encrypt data in the hard disk on a laptop that runs Ubuntu Oneiric? Setting LVM encryption? I am mostly concerned about having my laptop lost or what ...
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Does Fedora 15 still use suid bits?

I heard that Fedora 15 will not use suid bits. Is that true? Is the suid bit a security design bug?
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Designing a Sandbox for Windows

I am thinking about the design for a sandbox, which is able to execute arbitrary unmodified, untrusted binaries. The goal is to implement an application Unlike something like e.g. Google Chrome's ...
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How secure is the Windows 8 “Reset your PC” function?

Windows 8 has a feature to "Reset your PC" so that if someone needs to give their computer away, the recipient won't be able to recover data. How secure is it?
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Secure OS deployment

I want to deploy operating system images on quite a lot of clients. I know that the images must contain the latest security patches, as well as hotfixes (assuming they are tested and approved for the ...
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Digital Forensics and Pentesting: what now?

So, i want to enter the security field, and i'm leaning towards security auditing, digital forensics, and reverse engineering. i'm in school right now, i'm studying x86 ASM, exploring Linux, and soon ...
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Patching Mechanism and security holes

Let me clarify two methods of patching softwares and then I will go straight to the question: I am using both MAC OS X and Windows and different mechanisms of these two famous operating systems in ...
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How can I detect users that have requested AD Administrators to reuse an expired password?

There is a trend among companies I've worked at where administrators (or helpdesk folks) give a user a courtesy extension of the old expired password... rather than forcing the user to change it. ...
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How is hibernation supported, on machines with UEFI Secure Boot?

I've been learning about UEFI Secure Boot, which attempts to prevent "bootkits" by locking down the boot process so that only signed bootloaders and kernels can be loaded. Hibernation seems like a ...
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Windows mandatory access control: How to remove “mandatory level” label from the file?

1) How to remove "mandatory level" label from the file? I have two files, for first icalcs return Mandatory Label\Medium Mandatory Level:(NW) for second icalcs doesn't return anything (that means ...
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How to hack a Win95 machine?

While playing with old operating systems, I came across that there are no remote code execution exploits available for Win95 machines, running just file share (no IIS or anything else). Win95 neither ...
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OpenBSD, fbtab and X Window [closed]

The afterboot(8) man page of OpenBSD advises "You might wish to tighten up security more by editing /etc/fbtab as when installing X. " I would like to know what entries in /etc/fbtab would make sense ...
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Effects Of Encryption On Computer Systems

I am currently writing an essay and one part is a discussion about the effects of encryption on an Operating System/Computer/Infrastructure in general. However, I am struggling to see how a computer ...
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Is dual-booting an OS more or less secure than running a virtual machine?

I run two operating systems on two separate disk partitions on the same physical machine (a modern MacBook Pro). In order to isolate them from each other, I've taken the following steps: Configured ...