RE: IE Malware / Spyware Control Methods
From: King, Stephen (sking_at_chnct.org)
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 23:00:16 -0500 To: "Chris Krough" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From a preventive standpoint I would check out Faronics FreezeX and
Deepfreeze. Both are workstation solutions. FreezeX basically builds a
database of authorized executables. Here's how it works: First you make
sure the workstation is clean of any malware. Run FreezeX and it builds
a database of all executable program codes like exe, bat, java, dlls and
so on. With FreezeX on only the authorized executables in the database
are allowed to run. Any malware that may enter the computer can not
execute because its not in the database to do so. Likewise you can't
install legitimate software without first turning FreezeX off. It's very
effective with Spyware that can not be picked-up with traditional virus
checking and spyware checking tools. You save a ton of admin time.
DeepFreeze another product from Faronics works much differently. Here's
how it works: First, ensure you have a clean machine configured the way
you want it. Install DeepFreeze and it freezes the partition. Once in
the frozen state your end-users can mess with anything that you would
normally would cringe to but, once the machine is rebooted, its back to
its original state no matter what. The only drawback is end-users will
assume they are saving legitimate things locally like files in MY
Documents and it will appear to do so. But when they reboot everything
will be lost. The solution is to configure the workstation with two
partitions. The main partition (C:) is your system files and programs.
This can be frozen. The second partition (D:) drive can be unfrozen and
used for file storage and so forth. You can redirect program user files
by using the Microsoft TWEAK utility. I use both programs, and once you
set your work stations up and you have good images, its a breeze.
The amount of time your IT staff will save is astounding. Prevention
over detection is my motto. Check out their website and see more specs
on these products. They also have Deepfreeze for servers. Now I can be
sure of the integrity of my system files at the flick of a reboot. Both
products have an administrative consoles so you can unfreeze multiple
machines at once to do software updates or application installs.
Stephen King, CISSP, MCSE
Information Security Officer
Community Health Network of Connecticut, Inc.
11 Fairfield Boulevard
Wallingford, CT 06492
Direct: (203) 949-4065
Fax: (203) 265-3533
From: Chris Krough [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, January 07, 2005 3:07 PM
Subject: Re: IE Malware / Spyware Control Methods
Following the concept of least privilege is very effective at preventing
spyware installation. We've reduced the access level of most of our
users to 'Domain User'. For users who require frequent administrative
access we provide them with a secondary, preferably local only,
administrative account. For users with occasional administrative needs
we either upgrade their account temporarily or just perform the
installation/changes ourselves. This practice has almost completely
eliminated spyware problems from our network.
Depending on your users needs there is a good chance that lowering
default account privileges will increase the load on your support staff.
Installations and low-level configuration changes will require attention
from someone with administrative privileges but the time saved over
handling spyware/virus incidents is greater.
Have you upgraded your clients to XP SP2?
Illuminatus Master wrote:
> Hello List,
> I'm sure you all realize the growing threat of malware and spyware to
> Internet Explorer. It has been my experience that the initial
> infection and/or removel of an infection by anti-spyware products can
> permanently damage a windows workstation. This damage occurs in many
> forms and often leads too the workstation being reformatted and
> rebuilt before going back into service.
> A recent example is earlier this week, in spite of content filtering,
> a workstation was infected with "wintools", "mysearchtoolbar" etc. The
> tough part of this is that such malware has multiple instances/threads
> and renames system files like msconfig to resist removal. Often
> IE/Windows is so damaged it's more time effiecient to just replace the
> box and rebuild the infected one.
> My question is this, I'm batting around the idea of using Group Policy
> in our Active Directory to try and choke IE down to the point where
> such Malware has trouble installing itself. Has anyone here ever tried
> such as this with any degree of success?
> Other than Group Policy I'm also considering deploying an alternate
> web browser that isnt subject to malware infection but doing so
> complicates my patching/reporting routine for our security audits.
> I look forward to your comments and idea's.