My Take on Windows Vista Security “Vulnerabilities”

I love looking at and analyzing security bugs, but I also enjoy observing how people react to knowledge of security bugs. Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a number of interesting articles about Windows Vista security that made me smile. So I thought I would paraphrase the articles and re-write them with an opposing and cynical view! Here goes.

If there was no new TCP/IP stack in Windows Vista.

In Windows Vista, Microsoft rewrote retained the entire TCP/IP networking stack that is built on the existing networking stack found in Windows NT 3.51, some of which dates to the original TCP/IP add-on for MS-DOS. While this is probably a good thing long-term, improvements have certainly been made to this code, the shaky security foundations of this code ensure because this is new code, we can continue to expect a host of new vulnerabilities as the code is tested.

If we had never done UAC

In Windows Vista, Microsoft has not done anything introduced User Account Control (UAC) that helps users recognize when they’re taking administrative actions on their system. Because of this, While this is a step in the right direction in fostering limited privileges, UAC doesn’t work because it raises too many prompts: users will just get used to clicking OK and malicious code will continue to be loaded on user’s systems.


A little more context about the Sticky Keys ‘vulnerability’ article

In Windows Vista, it’s possible for a user with administrator privileges to replace the executable for “Sticky Keys” sethc.exe with another file and call it at the logon screen when they’re at the system’s console. Vista’s Trusted Installer makes this more difficult, but you can get around this by running commands on the system as a user with administrator privileges and change the permissions on the file. However, Aa user with administrator privileges who is at the system’s console could also log on and could use this to add a new user to the system and add them to the local administrators group.

Perhaps I’m just getting old and grumpy!