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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9answers
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Hardening Linux Server

We have already had questions on here about Hardening Apache, Hardening PHP and Securing SSH. To continue this trend I am interested in what steps people take to harden Linux servers. As in what ...
28
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6answers
4k views

Secure Linux Desktop

I'm looking for hints about secure linux desktops. Securing servers is no problem. Most recent Software Updates, run only the services required etc. But what about desktops? I'm thinking about details ...
22
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10answers
3k views

Vulnerable OS's?

Which vulnerable OS's like for example DVL would you recommend for someone to use for the purpose of pentest/exploitation learning?
13
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5answers
556 views

What is the potential impact of the alleged OpenBSD IPSEC attack?

Recently there is a bit of concern over encryption back doors in IPsec and while the status of this has not been confirmed, I don't know what impact something like this might have. For instance, does ...
10
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6answers
9k views

Is my computer at risk of being hacked when using public Wi-Fi?

I'm sitting at a cafe, using their public Wi-Fi. I don't go on sensitive sites; I basically go to a music site and listen to a live stream, for which there's no login. I don't check my email or visit ...
5
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2answers
4k views

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 _). ...
277
votes
13answers
55k views

Are passwords stored in memory safe?

I just realized that, in any language, when you save a password in a variable, it is stored as plain text in the memory. I think the OS does its job and forbids processes from accessing each other's ...
17
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4answers
3k views

Windows hardening

Can anyone point me at some good resources on Windows hardening? From 2003 upwards.
16
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1answer
5k views

Mac OS X from an IT Security Practitioners' Perspective?

What does the Mac OS X offer that it has been recently attracting users with IT security focus? There are sites that specifically focus on "hacking" with OSX, such as machacking.net. Defcon has an ...
5
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4answers
6k views

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 ...
4
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3answers
430 views

Is Chrome in Metro Mode more secure than Chrome in Desktop Mode?

With Windows 8, Microsoft introduces the Metro Apps which run in a sandbox environment, and therefore should be more secure. I would be interested to know if this higher security that the metro apps ...
27
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1answer
6k views

iOS Encryption Details

Following on from this question Does anyone have any details/resources on the technical specifics of how apple implement encryption on their iOS 4.x series devices? The Apple marketing material here, ...
6
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5answers
1k views

Suggested reading list: OS exploits

In computer security, my areas of interest include x86 processors, binary exploitation and reverse engineering. I'm also interested in the certain aspects of the minix and the linux kernel(memory ...
12
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5answers
7k views

Linux command logging?

Recently someone broke into one of our linux servers as a non root user. An excerpt from .bash_history: [...] perl perl set +o history set +o history set +o history passwd sdfsdf passwd exit I ...
20
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3answers
15k views

How does the Windows “Secure Desktop” mode work?

Can anyone explain (or provide a link to a simple explanation) of what the Windows "Secure Desktop" mode is and how it works? I just heard about it in the KeePass documentation (KeePass - Enter ...
8
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5answers
2k views

How can I remotely wipe the contents of a Linux Laptop if its been stolen?

I am currently investigating using Linux Laptops for my development team. We currently run Windows. The one advantage that keeps coming up for Windows over Linux from a system administration / ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Am I protected from USB autorun malware on Windows 7?

As far as I know, the autorun.inf problem (the possibility of automatically executing code when a USB stick is plugged in) was solved through Windows Updates for XP, and on 7 it is no longer possible ...
8
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7answers
1k views

Is there any asymmetrically encrypted file system?

Is there a file system providing a directory where everybody can write, but only the directory owner can read the files? In theory it could be done by encrypting using the public key while writing, ...
9
votes
2answers
151 views

Does Centralisation Decrease the Probability but Increase the Damage of Exploits?

This question is, perhaps, a tad too abstract for a Q&A site. But it's been playing on my mind for a while, so I'm throwing it out there. Modern systems seem to be increasingly centralised. An ...
8
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4answers
1k views

How does System Memory Dump work?

So there are so many pen-testing tools that perform a memory dump on the system. How exactly do they work - what exactly happens ?
2
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2answers
5k views

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. ...
10
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4answers
5k views

OS with encrypted RAM?

Are there any applications, JIT frameworks or operating systems that focus on encrypted virtual memory, or perhaps virtual machines that do something similar? I know there are processors (albeit old, ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

How to disable Firewire in OpenBSD/Linux to prevent attacks through Firewire?

Since Firewire lacks security, allowing a plugged-in device to access host memory, it's a good thing to fully disable it. If we're not using the BIOS to disable the Firewire port then how could we do ...
47
votes
8answers
8k views

Risks of giving developers admin rights to their own PCs

I need to convince my internal IT department to give my new team of developers admin rights to our own PCs. They seem to think this will create some security risk to the network. Can anyone explain ...
85
votes
13answers
8k views

Why do we lock our computers?

It's common knowledge that if somebody has physical access to your machine they can do whatever they want with it1. So why do we always lock our computers? If somebody has physical access to my ...
17
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3answers
2k views

Are passwords in memory?

I have an encrypted HDD (dm_crypt). That's why I store my passwords in a simple text file. I usually copy/paste the passwords from it. Ok! Q: If I open this text file then it goes into the memory. So ...
18
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1answer
608 views

Is it secure to connect to a remote Windows Server using Remote Desktop only?

I have a Windows Server that I login to from my home. I only use the pre-installed Remote Desktop. Is this a secure way to remote login or should I improve it in some way? If I should improve it, ...
11
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3answers
469 views

What security requirements do you have for Domain Administrators?

With regard to managing a Windows network, what security polices and processes do you use? For example Do you require/support Smart Card Authentication? Restrict logins from a particular ...
8
votes
6answers
713 views

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 ...
8
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
445 views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

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: ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is online banking more secure on iOS than a desktop computer?

Does Apple's iOS provide a more secure environment for online commerce (banking or shopping) than Windows or Mac OS X? Since the only software that can run on iOS must be vetted by Apple, the ...
4
votes
3answers
974 views

Wrapping system call (in reliable and secure way)

It there reliable method of "wrapping" system calls under Linux ? (Like LD_PRELOAD for wrapping shared library function calls.) Is there reliable, secure method of "wrapping" system calls (and, maybe ...
4
votes
1answer
463 views

Does sandboxie “grab” all the system calls?

Sandboxie: http://www.sandboxie.com Does sandboxie "grab" all the system calls, e.g.: filesystem calls? Or it "grabs" all the low level calls from a process?
2
votes
6answers
215 views

What are possible approaches and arguments for securing corporate IT systems with most computers being portable?

I was employed as the only system administrator by a company where half of computers are portable ones being taken away for work at home, business trips, visits to clients, etc. having access to ...
11
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4answers
989 views

Are exploits platform dependent?

Looking over an overview of the newest published IE exploit, I noticed what I think is assembly. I don't know anything about exploit development, but I know a little about assembly. Seeing that ...
7
votes
6answers
245 views

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 ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
677 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
210 views

iPad as a secure access terminal

I administer a number of linux servers (hosted on EC2 and linode) which provide VPN termination for thirty-odd users. I'm considering ditching my Macbook running OSX / Ubuntu in favour of setting up a ...
3
votes
5answers
2k views

How secure are iPhone/Android/Windows 8 “PIN”/Pattern Lock features?

Most modern (and tablet-oriented) operating systems now offer alternative ways of logging on other than a strong password. For example, iPhones offer a 4-digit PIN, Android devices offer this and a ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Privacy of my files and messages while another device is connected to my iphone [duplicate]

If someone is connected to wifi through my device can they copy my files documents or messages to their device