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Joanna Rutkowska on Vista security

By Fjodor on Feb. 14, 2007.

Rutkowska is trying out Vista. And as always, it seems to be a different world than what MS marketing would have us believe…

Quote from her blog:

One thing that I found particularly annoying though, is that Vista automatically assumes that all setup programs (application installers) should be run with administrator privileges.
That means that if you downloaded some freeware Tetris game, you will have to run its installer as administrator, giving it not only full access to all your file system and registry, but also allowing e.g. to load kernel drivers!

Now how about that. She describes the XP option of customised privileges, enabling the user to assign only the strictly required privileges for installing software, and still disallowing e.g. loading kernel drivers. Seems neat, but, alas, a thing of the past.

Next, she finds that while Vista still does go through some work to protect itself, it seems a little more careless with actual user data. In other words, even processes running at the lowest “Integrety Level” might still read data from more privileged processes. As she puts it:

So, the statistics look better and everybody is generally happier. Including the competition, who now has access to stolen data 😉

She goes on to describe her ability for an “IL” process to send keyboard and mouse events to a shell running as Administrator. How very reassuring.

Go Vista!

Category: Microsoft

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