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How much does the secure logon feature in Windows help?


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#1 bwv848

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 05:37 PM

I've started to use the "secure logon feature", which requires users to press CTRL+ALT+DELETE to unlock an account. Microsoft claims this:

"Using secure logon provides an additional layer of security for your computer by ensuring that the authentic Windows logon screen appears. When secure logon is enabled, another program (such as a virus or spyware) can't intercept your user name and password as you enter it."

So only Winlogon is supposed to recognize the three finger salute, but in the real world, can it be defeated easily? Can't a keylogger still steal your password? I'm running Windows 7.

Thanks!


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#2 packetanalyzer

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 06:08 PM

Hi bwv848,

 

Pressing Control Alt Delete, on a Windows Operating System represents a special key combination that Windows recognizes and when used Windows calls the login screen.

 

Basically, it is a hardcoded function so when Windows sees that combination of keys pressed it starts the Windows login screen. The purpose of this is to keep a malicious program from displaying a fake login screen.



#3 bwv848

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 07:06 PM

Thanks for your reply. :) But a keylogger would still be able to steal your password right?


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#4 packetanalyzer

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 08:57 PM

From what I have read when the key combination is used, Windows suspends other programs that are currently running (i.e. a keylogger) and then displays the login screen.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_attention_key

 

Enabling secure desktop and UAC will add more security to turning on the requirement to press control alt delete before you can login.

 

So... whereas yes this is a security measure you should not use only this (or any other security measure in isolation). Use a combination of security measures to make your computer less susceptible to compromise. More importantly, if you know this will make your computer more secure why are you considering not enabling it? It isn't much of an additional burden. Unless there is a specific reason why you don't want to have to press control alt delete before you login to your computer I would enable this setting.

 

Hopefully that helps answer your question.



#5 bwv848

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 09:30 PM

Thank you very much, packetanalyzer. I never would have thought that Windows disabled other programs when logging-in. I had already turned on the secure logon feature before my first post. I looked in the registry for a specific key, and it seems to be the secure desktop is enabled by default. Once again, thank you!!!


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