Related to security concerns specific to the Microsoft Windows operating system itself. For security of applications that happen to be running on Windows, please use [appsec]. For the X Window System, please use [x11].

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217
votes
7answers
42k 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, ...
162
votes
4answers
38k views

How does Windows 10 allow Microsoft to spy on you?

Windows 10 is perhaps the most Internet-connected and cloud-centric operating system released by Microsoft to date. This, of course, has caused many users to be concerned about how the OS respects ...
108
votes
8answers
15k views

Are there technical differences which make Linux less vulnerable to virus than Windows?

What makes Linux so different than Windows in terms of anti-virus needs? My question is not if I should get an anti-virus for my Linux. I perfectly understand why an AV is important. I would like ...
85
votes
2answers
16k views

Can a rogue .wmv file “hijack” Windows Media Player?

I've downloaded a .wmv file using P2P. Attempting to play it with Media Player Classic (K-Lite Codec Pack) only gave me a green square in the playback window: I noticed that the video came with a ...
76
votes
2answers
8k views

Windows language pack update with a gibberish name

This morning, I noticed that a new Windows update was offered to me. It looks very suspicious to me: Here are the update details: ...
53
votes
2answers
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 ...
50
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
45
votes
3answers
5k views

Can USB drive infect my PC with malware if I don't allow any autorun.inf to run?

Assuming that I'm using a trusted USB flash drive (meaning that it's not some device that looks like a USB drive and whose purpose is to damage my PC), is it possible for my PC to get infected from ...
43
votes
8answers
11k 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 ...
41
votes
6answers
130k 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 ...
38
votes
5answers
45k 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? ...
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, ...
36
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
34
votes
6answers
4k views

How do I purge Windows of my private data when formatting the drive is not an option?

I'm changing my employer, and I'm about to leave my office computer. Due to internal regulations and my supervisor's orders, I'm unable to format the disk drive. I was hoping I would be able to do ...
33
votes
3answers
28k 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 ...
33
votes
4answers
4k views

Is my data safe if, with an encrypted hard disk, I put Windows in “sleep” mode

Both my boot partition and my data partition are encrypted with TrueCrypt. My password is lengthy, so I find myself avoiding a reboot of my system whenever possible. When going to lunch (for ...
31
votes
5answers
6k views

Why can't Windows 98/IE5 connect to HTTPS sites in 2015?

Recently I found an old installation CD for Windows 98 Second Edition, and looking for a bit of a nostalgia kick, I installed it inside VirtualBox. Win98SE shipped with IE 5.0, and browsing the web ...
30
votes
6answers
5k views

What is the point of making a complicated PUBLIC password?

I have downloaded a couple of Virtual Machine images from http://modern.ie, in order to test different versions of Internet Explorer. When running these images, a complete Windows environment is ...
29
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
29
votes
6answers
11k 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?
29
votes
3answers
193k 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?
27
votes
3answers
1k views

Are .dll files normally found in system32 but now in a user’s AppData folder always suspicious?

I recently had to read over some malware reports and associated logs for a confirmed malware detection and subsequent infection of a Windows asset. The logs clearly show .dll files in a user’s AppData ...
26
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 ...
26
votes
1answer
5k views

Why do you have to be an admin to create a symlink in Windows?

In linux every user can create symlinks, but in Windows I need an admin command line, or mklink fails. Why is that?
25
votes
4answers
5k views

Is it possible to detect a honeypot? [closed]

Do techniques exists to know if a machine is a honeypot (or suspicious indicators)? What techniques can be used for a software inside the honeypot or outside it? What techniques uses malware to ...
22
votes
7answers
5k 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. ...
22
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the privacy and security implications of Windows Telemetry

There have been quite a few news stories relating to the use of "Telemetry" in Windows 10 (and also now Windows 7/8) with suggestions that users would want to disable or remove these updates due to ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Java SE 8, Update 51 Added “Native Sandbox” Protection for Windows PCs. Wait, what?

So I was doing a little research about differences (if any) between the sandboxing models for Windows 8/8.1 applications and windows 10 applications when I stumbled across something rather ...
21
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
4k 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) ...
20
votes
1answer
2k 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, ...
19
votes
3answers
3k 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
4answers
15k 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
97k views

How to figure out if someone has been using TeamViewer 8 to access my computer when I was not here?

I came to my computer today and have not been here since monday afternoon. I am using windows 7. There were some error messages showing even on the log in screen about memory violations done by ...
18
votes
3answers
789 views

How Do Rootkits & Other Low-Level Malware Still Manage to Load on Systems Protected by Secure Boot (and TB/MB)?

Let me try asking my question this way... Let's say that I'm a offensive cyber Bad Guy working for a foreign state-sponsored Advanced Persistent Threat unit. My unit is charged with, say, stealing ...
17
votes
3answers
1k 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
4answers
5k views

Windows hardening

Can anyone point me at some good resources on Windows hardening? From 2003 upwards.
16
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
5k views

Running windows in virtual machine, should I bother with security?

I'm running Windows in a virtual machine on my mac (via Parallels). Should I bother installing antivirus, firewall and using other conventional wisdom practices (like don't open unknown .exe etc)? I ...
16
votes
4answers
5k 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
7answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
20k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
982 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it safe to post dxdiag on the internet?

Is there any information that might be useful to damage me on the dxdiag.txt file generated by windows 7? A technical support forum from a big company (I guess they know what they're doing) asks me ...