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Windows 7: Avast anti-virus or Microsoft Security Essentials?

14 Aug 2012   #11
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golden View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Alejandro85 View Post
...UAC. Just make sure it is at its highest level (the default has serious bugs that basically lets any program elevate at will),
Where did you find that?
I'm still waiting for the answer to Golden's question.


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14 Aug 2012   #12
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golden View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Alejandro85 View Post
...UAC. Just make sure it is at its highest level (the default has serious bugs that basically lets any program elevate at will),
Where did you find that?
I'm still waiting for the answer to Golden's question.
Sorry Layback Bear, you have to wait until I finally came back from work

Golden, here are just a few links showing that security flaw introduced in Windows 7:
Windows 7 UAC whitelist: Code-injection Issue (and more)
Sacrificing security for usability: UAC security flaw in Windows 7 beta (with proof of concept code) – istartedsomething
Microsoft dismisses Windows 7 UAC security flaw, continues to insist it is “by design” – istartedsomething

There is a sample program elevating itself (provided the conditions of the default Win7 install) with its full source code and explanations, a lot of discussion and the full explanation of the issue. And some MS employees trying to justify the unjustifiable (that they created a bug and don't admit it).

Long story short, here's how it works:
In the default UAC level, some built-in Windows programs are "white-listed" so they can elevate without a prompt (so it isn't as annoying as in Vista). The trick is that ANY program running with low privileges can leverage that by injecting its own code in one of such allowed programs, then launching it elevated WITHOUT any prompt, basically running as admin any code that the non-admin app wants, without the user knowing.
The very same thing at the highest UAC level (as in Vista) triggers an UAC prompt, as it should (possibly alerting the user with an unexpected elevation request).

Thanks to this, the default Win7 UAC is as effective as no UAC at all, as programs can elevate themselves at will. And yes, there are already viruses out there that take advantage of this. Note that the links date since the betas of Win7.

Therefore, ALWAYS use the highest level for security. Or sacrifice it for convenience and put at the lowest. The middle settings are a complete non-sense.
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14 Aug 2012   #13
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Thanks for you reply. I noticed how old they were as you pointed out. I have no doubt that hackers are trying to work around this small security effort of UAC. Other than a few and you are their other opinions out there. OH hell I will just Google. Thanks again.
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14 Aug 2012   #14
DustSailor

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Mate, there have been many patches for windows since that time. However, I agree the safest UAC level is the highest level. But having UAC is better than not. If it doesn't stop all malicious activity, at least it will stop some.
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14 Aug 2012   #15
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

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14 Aug 2012   #16
3heeltoad

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
 
 

I'd suggest AVG since the free version is good enough to use and the premium doesnt cost all that much

But out of the two, probably Avast.
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14 Aug 2012   #17
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DustSailor View Post
Mate, there have been many patches for windows since that time. However, I agree the safest UAC level is the highest level. But having UAC is better than not. If it doesn't stop all malicious activity, at least it will stop some.
Yes, many updates and patches have appeared since then, nevertheless, the bug I pointed out is still there, and the default UAC level happily lets any program elevate itself by exploiting the white-listed ones. Up to the last patch of Win7 and in Win8 too.
True, even the default is better than nothing at all , but only against unaware viruses unfortunately.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golden View Post
No, didn't knew that link, but knew the "solution". But really, it's no solution at all. All it does is prevent a virus from disabling the UAC altogether, but it can anyway elevate itself at will and wreak havoc in every other place like any admin process. It's a little better, but really doesn't solves anything.
Just try the proof-of-concept program there and see how easy is to bypass the default UAC. Still works on a fully patched Win7 and Win8.
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15 Aug 2012   #18
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

First off I don't know anybody that even in a small or big way stipulates that UAC is the do all answer to security on a computer. It's a little added goody that doesn't cost anything and does add a little security. Microsoft was thoughtful enough to made settings that a user could choose. Many don't use it at all. I do because I have a choice. Later I will try it on full bore and see how I like it. Their has been many updates sense 2009 but I don't know whether any of them covered UAC. Honestly I'm not going to take the time to find out. It's there and I use it.
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16 Aug 2012   #19
chrysalis

windows 8.1 Pro x64
 
 

UAC I assumed was a stepping stone, it makes app vendors get their software to work in limited mode which allows the next logical step of making people use limited user accounts by default. But this doesnt happen in win8 right thats still admin accounts with UAC?
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19 Aug 2012   #20
OldMX

Microsoft Windows 10 Professional
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by insomniac1 View Post
Hello,

I use Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium. For the last year or so, I've used Avast Anti-virus and Malwarebytes. However, today I had a nasty case of the Metropolitan Police virus and now am considering using Security Essentials instead.

Should I uninstall Avast, or does anybody have any other suggestions re which tools to use to protect against virus, malware, ransomware?

Thank you.
How you got infected on first place?
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 Avast anti-virus or Microsoft Security Essentials?




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