A family of graphical operating systems produced by Microsoft. Windows includes both server and destop operating systems. Early versions relied on MS-DOS while current versions have evolved from Windows NT. Please do not use this tag for X, but use [x-windows] instead.

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160
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7answers
27k views

What's the rationale behind Ctrl-Alt-Del for login

Why is Ctrl+Alt+Del required at login on certain Windows systems (I have not seen it elsewhere, but contradict me if I'm wrong) before the password can be typed in? From a usability point of view, ...
45
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does Windows Ship with Expired SSL Certificates?

I am cleaning up the certificate stores on my Windows machines, and considering which certificates I should keep, and which ones I should delete. Why does a fresh install of Windows Server 2012 R2 ...
40
votes
8answers
8k views

Why am I allowed to access protected Windows files when I boot Ubuntu from USB?

How come I'm allowed to reboot a computer that I don't own, put in a USB, boot ubuntu from it and then access all files stored on the drives available (even critical files such as system files on C ...
37
votes
7answers
7k views

Does a virus need to be clicked on to function?

Can a virus infect my Windows XP operating system by its mere presence? I mean, if I copy/paste a virus on my computer and I never click on it, will it infect my computer or will it remain dormant, ...
37
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the risk if I accidently type my password into a username field (Windows logon)?

I'm used to logging into my personal Mac which is a password-only field (like waking from sleep mode). Sometimes I have to use a Windows network on which I have an account, but of course I have to ...
33
votes
2answers
11k views

How secure is the Windows 8 included Anti Virus known as Windows Defender?

How secure is the new Windows 8 anti virus known as Windows Defender? Does it have a protection against malware which uses UAC bypass/process injection/rootkits/process persistence/running the binary ...
32
votes
6answers
77k views

Can I determine if my computer has a key logger installed?

A friend of mine just started a job at a security sensitive company. They've provided him with a laptop with Windows XP Professional installed. He's heard a rumor from other employees that the laptops ...
26
votes
6answers
4k views

How can normal files hide a virus?

How can normal files supported in the Windows operating system hide a virus? Sometimes opening a .txt , .jpg or .docx files leads to running a virus. How is this possible?
25
votes
3answers
18k 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

Stack Overflow is www.doioig.gov/? If not, then could I be infected

Great! I made a post recently where I mentioned that my system might be infected. Now something new came up. When I search for Stack Overflow on Google, I see that the URL is www.doioig.gov/. When I ...
24
votes
4answers
12k views

What can an attacker do with Bluetooth and how should it be mitigated?

What are the security risks of Bluetooth and what technologies and best practices should be used to protect my device? What can an attacker do once a malicious device is paired with mine? ...
22
votes
3answers
6k views

Create a unterminable process in Windows

I am a student, and am genuinely curious about unterminable processes in Windows. For educational purposes, I would like to create an application (possibly in VB6?) which cannot be terminable by a ...
22
votes
4answers
6k views

How secure is Windows 8's Picture Password login?

The final Windows 8 build has been released to manufacturing. One of the new features of Windows 8 is "Picture Password", where the end user logs on to Windows by clicking a specific pattern on the ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I tell if I have the citadel virus without downloading an antivirus?

I recently received an e-mail from Virgin Media indicating that I might have the Citadel virus. It obviously sounds like a fake e-mail, but I am almost certain it is genuine, as they had my name and ...
19
votes
1answer
5k views

GitHub's Bash Shell for Windows is vulnerable to Shellshock. Can it do any harm though?

After the news of the Shellshock vulnerability broke out, I remembered I had GitHub's version of a bash shell for Windows installed. Just to see if it also had the vulnerability, I executed: env ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Why aren't applications sandboxed in Windows?

Sandboxing seem to be a way to restrict what an application can do. Today, I don't have much control of what my applications do with my computer. It feels more secure to use JavaScript based web ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Can Windows malware harm a Linux computer when it's executed with Wine?

I am an (Ubuntu) Linux user. Sometimes, I have to use Wine for running Windows executables. I would like to know if Windows malware (virus, trojan, worm,...), i.e. malware that was not intended to ...
18
votes
1answer
679 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, ...
17
votes
7answers
804 views

How to deal with a person who gets easily fooled by internet and mail scams?

alternative title: How to deal with a person who has gotten paranoid and doesn't want to go online anymore? A person, who has over the years been scammed many times, by bad spam/fraud emails, and ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

Windows hardening

Can anyone point me at some good resources on Windows hardening? From 2003 upwards.
17
votes
3answers
781 views

Why do rootkits hide in drivers?

A lot of rootkits for Windows (maybe even Linux?) do hide in drivers. Why is that? One reason I can think of is that using a driver they run in kernel mode and have full system access, but aren't ...
17
votes
1answer
98k views

How do I clear cached credentials from my Windows Profile?

Windows seems to be saving my credentials for a variety of applications (terminal servers, etc) and I'd like to purge this data. How can I backup and purge this data?
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Can the Windows Schannel vulnerability be exploited by visiting a website?

Microsoft has just patched a vulnerability in Schannel that could allow remote code execution (MS14-066). What I can't find are any reliable details on how this can be exploited. I've seen some people ...
15
votes
4answers
752 views

Firefox pre-downloading

I've found out that if you download a file with Firefox, a similar window as this one pops up (in dutch in my case): ("Bestand opslaan" = "Save file") However, the file is already being ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Something is changing my hosts file without asking

First: I can't find any information on this phenomenon, not anywhere on the net. I don't know which application does it, but something in my Windows 7 Home Premium system (fully updated & legal) ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

How secure is the Windows event log, and how is it secured?

I'm curious as to just how secure the Windows event log is, and exactly what security measures it uses. Does it include any defenses against tampering - for example, does it use digital signatures or ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Can hackers detect my operating system?

I've seen people demonstrating the use of backtrack to attack VMs. In one of the components of backtrack, it shows the operating system of the targets. Since support for Windows XP is ending soon, i ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Hackable linux distributions

A few years ago we had that awesome Linux distribution called Damn Vulnerable Linux. But unfortunately it looks like the project is dead. So my question is are there other Linux distributions which ...
14
votes
6answers
6k views

How is something as simple as a keylogger detected on a computer?

I found one online, which I wanted to try out at my house and see if it actually worked. It's written in C, and it is not very big at all considering half of it is just a bunch of cases for which key ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Three-Factor Authentication for Windows

This HowToGeek article... http://www.howtogeek.com/67556/how-to-unlock-your-pc-by-being-nearby-with-a-bluetooth-phone/ ...got me thinking. Is there any software (or combination of software) that ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Hiding user account names from unauthenticated RDP sessions

This is for a Windows 7 Ultimate system, which is not a member of a domain. When I log into the system locally, I am required to either manually enter my user ID or authenticate with biometrics. The ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How does Windows 8's Microsoft Account authentication work?

One of the new features to Windows 8 is the ability to log in to your PC using your credentials from a Microsoft Account. How is this implemented, and what steps are taken to prevent hijacking of ...
13
votes
3answers
26k views

How do you discover what permissions an AD group has, if you have no documentation?

You just got hired at company A and the old administrator is no longer there. Requests start coming through for adding users to the internet restrict group. When you look at the groups none of the ...
13
votes
3answers
836 views

Starting with sandbox development

I am looking for some security related project in which I can contribute and also learn something. Since I am new with this stuff It will be better if that project is less complex and digestible for a ...
12
votes
6answers
13k views

How secure is NTFS encryption?

How secure is the data in a encrypted NTFS folder on Windows (XP, 7)? (The encryption option under file|folder -> properties -> advanced -> encrypt.) If the user uses a decent password, can this ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

Prevent acccess to the C drive on Windows systems

Is it possible to prevent regular users from accessing the C drive via Windows Explorer? they should be allowed to execute certain programs. This is to ensure that employees cannot steal or copy out ...
12
votes
5answers
5k views

How can I decrypt data with Java, without hard-coding the key?

I hope this is not a chicken-egg problem or reinventing the wheel but here goes. I have a Java application that needs to access a password protected file (actually during the application startup). The ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Convenient cross-platform help on checking secure hashes like SHA-256

It is often helpful to be able to obtain a good cryptographic checksum of a file, e.g. the SHA-256 hash. This can be used to verify file integrity, so long as you have a reliable source for the hash. ...
12
votes
4answers
441 views

How to safely synchronize time over Internet?

All modern OS now keep accurate time by regularly synchronizing time over an untrusted network - Internet. Could an attacker conducting a MITM attack, influence or change the time of a computer while ...
12
votes
4answers
563 views

Unknown malware, how to report it and whom to report it to?

I'm a professional Windows system administrator, but I've been caught off-guard (or maybe some malware writer has been very clever) and I caught some unknown malware on my home computer (Windows 7 x64 ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What encryption prevents the tampering of Windows Identity Foundation (WIF) FedAuth cookies?

It occurred to me that the WIF FedAuth cookies contain identity information, that if tampered with, could permit someone to assume the identity of another user. Fortunately, WIF does ...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

Can viruses actually inject their code in other processes?

Can a virus really inject its own code into a process so it stays on your computer permantly? The only way to actually remove it is to reinstall your OS. My question is how can it do that without ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I prevent someone from accessing a Windows XP system via boot disk?

Apparently a computer system protected by a a login password, e.g. Windows XP, can be easily hacked by someone with physical access to it using methods like this one: ...
11
votes
3answers
10k views

Checklist on building an Offline Root & Intermediate Certificate Authority (CA)

Microsoft allows a CA to use Cryptography Next Generation (CNG) and advises of incompatibility issues for clients that do not support this suite. Here is an image of the default cryptography settings ...
11
votes
3answers
479 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Attacks against windows kiosk software

I am interested in potential/actual attacks against kiosk software. I am not talking about physical access, or specifically designed kiosk operating systems or shells, bur rather software that runs ...
10
votes
3answers
20k views

Monitoring file access on Windows

I need a way to monitor user file access on windows. What I need is: monitoring of user opening, modifying (don't need to know what the changes were, just that a file was modified), copying, pasting ...
10
votes
3answers
9k views

How do I ensure data encryption on Samba transmission on *NIX systems?

I have a heterogeneous system (both MS and *nix) that communicates with CIFS/SMB. How can I ensure proper data encryption at the application layer?
10
votes
5answers
6k views

Encrypting files in a windows environment

We have certain client data which must be encrypted at all times. The part we have been struggling with is encrypting files on network shares. Currently we have network folders encrypted using PGP ...
10
votes
2answers
586 views

How insecure is PowerShell Web Access?

Windows Server 2012 comes with a new feature that allows you to administrate the server via a PowerShell command line in any modern browser including Smartphones. This sounds cool and scary at the ...