can a key logger program steal admin password when you install program from limited user account

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Security' started by someone, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. someone

    someone Guest

    I have admin and limited user account on my PC. I always run in
    limited user account, except when installing program and doing other
    system maintenance work.

    In limited user account, when I install a program, it will pop up a
    dialog to ask for admin password.

    Suppose that under limited user account, I by mistake downloaded
    virus/trojan, can this virus/trojan/key logger steal the admin
    password when I try to install a program?

    I know that I'll be safe if I switch to admin account to do the

    And yes, there is a possibility that the virus will change the program
    I want to install. Let's ignore this possibility for now.

    I am running Win7.

    someone, Dec 18, 2010
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  2. How does it work? If it can install a keylogger, it already has admin

    Short answer:

    It should not be able to. The elevation prompt is not in your limited
    user account, but in the "secure desktop" instead (like your logon
    desktop). The system takes a snapshot of your current desktop, darkens
    it, and switches to the secure desktop and displays it there - and then
    displays the credentials prompt.

    However, it might be possible for a compromised limited account to fake
    a secure desktop (darkened desktop) with a fake credentials prompt for you.
    If you have a keylogger "installed", how can you assume this?
    You are only concerned about what can see the admin password?

    When you get to the "logon" screen and enter your admin password there,
    it is the same thing as the secure desktop offered up in your limited
    user account - if your keylogger can do one, it can do the other.
    I assumed Vista (the group names all say vista) - and I also assume Win
    7 is quite similar in this respect.
    FromTheRafters, Dec 19, 2010
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  3. someone

    Dave Warren Guest

    In message <iejjd8$1fn$> FromTheRafters
    Keyloggers can run as a limited user but will only be able to intercept
    activity that happens within that user's context and won't see what
    happens in other contexts, including UAC elevated applications.
    Don't forget the number of folks who set UAC to not use a secure
    desktop, these people may not even have this level of protection.
    Dave Warren, Dec 20, 2010
  4. someone

    poutnik Guest

    Sofisticated malware can abuse
    security vulnerabilities of various software, including OS,
    related to privilege escalation.

    All OSs, not limited to Windows, and many of applications
    publish often, or time by time security patches,
    addressing privilege escalation threat.

    Some of them are publicly known among hackers for longer time
    before getting fixed.
    poutnik, Dec 20, 2010
  5. someone

    someone Guest

    How can I check to make sure that UAC is set to use a secure
    desktop? I only found one screen to control UAC setting, and there is
    no mention of secure desktop there. Thanks.
    someone, Feb 20, 2011
  6. It's in the registry
    (HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Policies/System), or
    could be accessed in security policies (secpol.msc).

    Which OS version are you using again?
    FromTheRafters, Feb 21, 2011
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