Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Friday, March 02, 2007

Serious Vista Security Includes Ctrl-Alt-Del

If you’re serious about security in Vista there is still one hole that will need plugging. One of the oldest and easiest way to leave yourself vulnerable is be caught be a fake login screen which asks for your name and/or password.   If no one will ever have a chance to type on your keyboard and/or insert a USB drive don’t worry. If however your machine is ever left open for someone else to access it you could be a victim.

Back in college we used it all the time on an old Univac main frame to capture friends and teachers passwords.  It was all in fun of course. Smile
All it took was a simple program which looked exactly like the normal log on screen. The victim enters their name and password and it’s sent off to someone else's Email box.  Online phishing attacks use the same methodology.

The best attempt at a solution is to turn on Ctrl-Alt-Del as the only way to bring up your logon screen.  Microsoft once made this a default setting when they introduced Windows NT. Thanks for this tip from Diana Huggins who has been writing a lot of great security articles for the folks at LockerGnome.

  1. Click Start and click Control Panel.
  2. Click System and Maintenance, Administrative Tools and then the Local Security Policy.
  3. Within the console, expand Local Policies.
  4. Click Security Options. The various security options are displayed in the details pane.
  5. Scroll through the options and locate Interactive Logon: Do not require CTRL + ALT + DEL.
  6. Double click the option.
  7. Select Disabled to require users to press CTRL + ALT + DEL.
  8. Click OK.

Turn on Ctrl Alt Delete

I’ve been reading some really good tips from Diana lately although the LockerGnome server seems to be having some problems.  If the site is available you can read more from Diana at


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