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Windows 7: Boot up security risk question


09 May 2010   #1

Win 7 pro x64 SP1
 
 
Boot up security risk question

My question is: Are there any security risk involved with booting up the OS on a wired to router wired to DSL modem setup with the router and modem live? The only conceivable risk would be an attacker slipping under the software firewall (PC) and or the hardware firewall on the router, this seems really unlikely but the question is bugging me.

I know this will strike many as a really dumb question, as my searching found more folks wanted to get there computers to actively connect during boot than worried in any way they were at any risk.

I have been trying to find a somewhat technical answer other than everybody does it so it must be ok, in other words is the software set up for this type of activity.
I can see from my security software logs, the PC is logging events on the LAN even before I get my log-on password in.

I am an extremely curious type, I am somewhat new to the networking aspects of the router, I have had it only a few months since getting my wife a lap-top that she uses wireless. This forum has been a great help in getting the router set up securely (found a lot here through searching) Booting up a wireless computer would be routine where the router/access point is live, are there any differences when itís wired. Prior to getting the router I would turn on the DSL modem after boot up and off before shutdown.
My setup is as follows:
Hardware-Desktop running windows 7 pro x64 on board LAN Realtek PCIe GBE family controller, D-link DIR-655 router, ADSL modem from ISP all wired
Related Software: Norton Internet security 2010 (I let the firewall automatically create its rules)
Thanks so much for a great forum and any mind easing help -- Bill

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

09 May 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate (32 bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by w7bill View Post
My question is: Are there any security risk involved with booting up the OS on a wired to router wired to DSL modem setup with the router and modem live? The only conceivable risk would be an attacker slipping under the software firewall (PC) and or the hardware firewall on the router, this seems really unlikely but the question is bugging me.

I know this will strike many as a really dumb question, as my searching found more folks wanted to get there computers to actively connect during boot than worried in any way they were at any risk.

I have been trying to find a somewhat technical answer other than everybody does it so it must be ok, in other words is the software set up for this type of activity.
I can see from my security software logs, the PC is logging events on the LAN even before I get my log-on password in.

I am an extremely curious type, I am somewhat new to the networking aspects of the router, I have had it only a few months since getting my wife a lap-top that she uses wireless. This forum has been a great help in getting the router set up securely (found a lot here through searching) Booting up a wireless computer would be routine where the router/access point is live, are there any differences when it’s wired. Prior to getting the router I would turn on the DSL modem after boot up and off before shutdown.
My setup is as follows:
Hardware-Desktop running windows 7 pro x64 on board LAN Realtek PCIe GBE family controller, D-link DIR-655 router, ADSL modem from ISP all wired
Related Software: Norton Internet security 2010 (I let the firewall automatically create its rules)
Thanks so much for a great forum and any mind easing help -- Bill
I'm not sure if this is the technical answer you are looking for but my thoughts on the process.
On bootup the bios is setting up my NIC onboard chip and has its own protection. When Windows 7 starts up it then verifies the NIC and activaes the firwall so I think at that time it takes over. I'm sure this is one of the first things that Windows 7 sets up. Well I hope it is.

Can anyone clear up if what I say is at least close to the truth?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2010   #3

Win 7 pro x64 SP1
 
 

IggyAZ,

Thank you for your reply, your explination makes sense, I am a little gray on the boot mechanics and this helps out.

I realize there are many veriables regarding securing the boot prosses such as the firewall (I have chosen a third party one) itself and what it is designed to do. Norton has an early load feature I belive I will select see how the logs look over time.

This maybe a question for the norton forum as well, I was just curious if the OS had any built in feature

One thing that raised my attention was the other day the firewall created some new rules that were termed as "custom" this was after several boots with the router online. This is the only odity I have noted.

Thanks again for thoughts -- Bill
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


10 May 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate (32 bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by w7bill View Post
IggyAZ,

Thank you for your reply, your explination makes sense, I am a little gray on the boot mechanics and this helps out.

I realize there are many veriables regarding securing the boot prosses such as the firewall (I have chosen a third party one) itself and what it is designed to do. Norton has an early load feature I belive I will select see how the logs look over time.

This maybe a question for the norton forum as well, I was just curious if the OS had any built in feature

One thing that raised my attention was the other day the firewall created some new rules that were termed as "custom" this was after several boots with the router online. This is the only odity I have noted.

Thanks again for thoughts -- Bill

I use MS Windows 7 firewall and MS Security Essentials which has protected me very well since I installed last year. I used to use a 3rd party firewall but MS has a good one in Windows 7 for most prople. I also have tried Norton and mcAfee antivirus software and all seemed to close my sysyem down on bootup and while surfing. After installing the FREE MS Security Essentials everyhting flows nicely with no delays and I feel it has protected me many time and I don't look for trouble on the internet if you know what I mean.

Anyway good luck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2010   #5

Windows7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

w7bill, before we talk about security risk, we should be asking as to "what to secure when your computer is booting up". Here's the idea, you want to secure something because there's something of "value" you need to guard, let's say your file shares. When your computer boots up, the file sharing service (that's SMB/CIFS service - "File and printer sharing service") doesn't start yet, it needs to wait for Windows kernel to initialize the network interface, once it's initialized, the SMB/CIFS server will start and by then will listen to the appropriate network interface. Now, all this happens after you boot up... your computer is not able to connect to the network WHILE it's booting up, understand the logic? The "File and printer sharing" service hasn't even started yet, there's nothing to "exploit" or "hack" with...

In the end, there is no such thing as "Boot up security risk", there's nothing of value when your computer boots up...

zzz2496
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2010   #6

Win 7 pro x64 SP1
 
 

zzz2496,

Thank you for taking time to reply, you have explained your points very well and they make very good sense.

This is exactly what I was looking for, being a common PC tinkerer (but a painfully curious one) I often want to know "how things work". In the area of computers this is often pretty complex stuff.

Your coments (and IggyAZ) have really helped me understand what goes on during boot. Also I now understand why there is not much info out there on the topic :-)

Thank you again, you were very helpfull --- Bill
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2010   #7

Windows7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

You're welcome

zzz2496
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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