back to article Program Names govern admin rights in Vista

Developers have discovered that the name given to a Vista executable affects whether or not it will require admin rights to run. Security experts said the feature might seem odd, but helps to catch out spyware. Reg Reader Mike, a C++ developer, discovered the behaviour after spending days trying to work out why just some of …


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Windows + Security = B*ll*cks !

Since any user will soon be sick and tired of Vista asking for their admin credentials that UAC will probably be disabled by many of them, I don't see how this will inprove security.

This entire "looking for words like install and setup" thing is nothing more than an attempt to achieve at least some backwards-compatibility with all those different installers out there.

This feature has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with blocking spyware, adware or other nasty stuff.

All those spyware writers would have to do is simply create an installer that actually runs without requiring admin privileges, then let that program create a login-screen that looks exactly like the UAC login screen and capture the

(l)users admin-password... it's as simple as that !


In addition.

I hear that Vista will "heuristically" detect any application called iTunes, OpenOffice, StarOffice, Quicktime, Flash, Firefox, or Opera and force the user to download an "appropriate" alternative, be it Office 2007, Windows Media Player, Internet Exploder 7, or Silverbollocks.

Anonymous Coward

No, of course not.

"it can't be because they make using the computer instinctively easy to use and user-friendly with almost total backward compatibility, can it? Of course not."

There's many a true word spoken in jest and those were just a few.

I spend a greater portion of my waking life supporting the poor souls who've had Microsoft's excuse for an operating system inflicted on them, and I can state quite unequivocally that there's nothing 'intuitive' about Vista (or any other version of Windows for that matter).

As for this latest retro-fit gaffe: Have Microsoft considered employing the crew of Sealab to do their coding & testing? I suspect they'd do a considerably better job.


This is news? Where were you all seven years ago?

Um... Windows 2000 Terminal Server in application server mode does this. You run anything that looks like an installer based on the filename and the OS stops you, telling you to use Add/Remove programs or change user /install.

Of course XP had this because it has fast user switching and remote assistance, both based on terminal server. Even if you ignored 2K Server, how can you all ignore XP?

And don't get me started about airport security... bah! too late!


RE: Bandwagon

I wanna join too.

Sorry El Reg, but you've completely missed the point. Like, totally, utterly and amazingly. See every other learned posters comments =/



I find it disconcerting that this non-issue has sparked a) a "news" item on El Reg; and b) so many mindless comments.

Firstly, this feature is NOT a security feature, nor is it documented as such. It is purely for compatibility with non-Vista-aware applications. The decision to run something with or without admin rights is still left up to the user, regardless of the name of the executable.

Secondly, this is NOT a security hole, as was suggested here:

"Trojan authors will not "work around" the "problems" by renaming their installers _away_ from "install". Far from it. They will rename their Trojans _to_ "install", because now Vista will helpfully ask the user to run their code as an administrator"

Vista-aware trojan authors can do this anyway by the manifest method, so it makes no difference what the executable is called.

So this whole "problem" is nonsense. I'd expect this kind of reporting from the Queen of Non-Issues, Steve Gibson, but I expected better from The Register.


What's in a name?

An anagram of "installer" is "NilAlerts" and "setup" similarly yields "stupe". HTH


It gets worse...

I sent this article to The Register at the weekend, after wasting many hours tracking down a drag'n'drop bug in my code (when running on Vista) which didn't exist.

Two addition comments to make:

First off, yes, I do now know that if I add a manifest file to my .exe, then this Vista problem goes away.

But first, you need to know that this filename quirk is what's CAUSING the problem in the first place. No such files are required in XP, and my program ISN'T doing anything even slightly malicious.

This problem all came about as my .exe (with "install" in it's filename) has a screen where you can drag'n'drop files into it. It doesn't change system files, doesn't overwrite Windows directories or anything... it simply lets you drag'n'drop files into it, and it was THIS behavior that refused to work under Vista, until I changed the .exe filename.

It gets worse though: I thought it would be useful to look out for this behaviour happening, so I could warn the user about it. But you can't do it.

If I kept the filename with "install" in it, and tried to use the 10+ year old Microsoft C++ GetVersionEx() function to test which operating system the .exe is running on, then Vista actually LIES.

It actually tells my app that it's running on a Windows "version 5.1" machine - or Windows XP to you and me.

So, my app can't allow users to drag'n'drop files into it due to a Vista security measure, but Vista then tells my app that it's running on Windows XP, so my app has no idea that this problem might be happening.

It's ridiculous !!!

Once again, if I remove "install" from the filename, it all works fine, and that GetVersionEx() function is back to telling my app that it's running on Vista.

Aaaah, I'm sure there's logic in there somewhere.

Anonymous Coward

Windows Security: Oxymorons-R-Us

@ Joe Cooper: "there's at least a dozen ways to penetrate Linux "

As opposed to the "More than 180,000 threats [which] exist today" for Windows users, according to McAfee?

I'll take my chances with Linux, thanks.


This is Russian Reversal of actual feature!

As much as I love to bash M$, I have to point out that the point is taken backwards ... it is basically a "Russian Reversal" play on the feature that makes it *seem* it is useless.

The case is, if UAC is enabled, every single program that *doesn't* have a manifest, will run in mortal-user mode. If they have the manifest, you will get the UAC prompt.

But ... if the name is called something like install, setup and similar, then it will behave just like if it had a manifest and ask for admin privs.

No, naming your program anything else doesn't "bypass the metal detector". It actually keeps you out the gate altogether.

HOWEVER, this only is effective if:

- User has UAC enabled, and

- User has a non-admin account for everyday use. There was a Reg article some time ago about this.

So it is more a backwards hack to allow unaware pre-Vista installers to run. Calling it "false security" reminds me of a friend back in '97 running SMIT as normal-user and then claiming he "hacked" the box.

Anyway, happy bug hunting! Vista is bound to show off some major security hole sometime in the future...

PS: Hm... somehow everytime I type UAC, I think of DOOM.


UAC != Security

Gee, when was the last time i saw virus's and spyware hanging out in the various TEMP folders, and they are not protected at all? How about daily!

Working on windows systems every hour of the day, and day of the week tells me one thing. THANK GOD I JUMPED SHIP YEARS AGO. I jumped to linux cold turkey about 10 years ago and it has paid me back a million-fold. Sure it was hard, its much easier now.

Thank god not everyone has done it though. doubtful i could have all of the work i do if it wasn't for Microsoft's failed attempts at security and reliability.

Why don't they just speak the truth. "Windows - Now Almost Secure This Year." Do the Nasty, Everyone else is.

Last time i lost data...... running windows, 10 years ago.

Last time i got a virus .. Also running windows, 10 years ago.

Last time i missed windows? about 9.75 years ago.

Last time i was GLAD i quit using windows.....Every day for the last 9.75 years

This is not to say linux is perfect, its not, it needs lots of improvement, but its been getting it every day and every day it just gets better.

That is the major difference, if Linux did something like this anyone in the world could look through the code and if they had a better solution they could implement it, some might suck even worse, but everyone who wanted to would have a equal chance of replacing it with their code. Nobody but Microsoft can fix the mess that we call windows and even they have proven they are not capable. Linux, everyone has the opportunity to step to the plate.

Who here can seriously tell me windows has ever gotten better or even between releases got better. I mean better in the ways that matter too, not just more lipstick on the pig, kind of better.

Ill give you that 2000 was better than Windows ME, but dude, 98 to ME was pure and total carnage, like twin towers kind of bad.



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