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Changing Vista boot screens and opening yourself up to rootkits (or not)

I love people who want to customise WIndows Vista and some of my previous posts have covered this, however you can go too far - you can hack the OS.  While I understand the desire to "hack" the OS to get customisations, there are better ways. This particular example is where people want to change the boot screen in Vista.  The ability to do this will be coming from StarDock soon, but until then people have taken to modifying the existing OS files.  THERE IS ALWAYS a change that by downloading someones customised file to your PC and it being loaded so early on in the boot process that it could do nasty things, especially since these files are in now way certified by Microsoft.

A classic example of this can be found here when people want to change the boot logo - this could easily be a social engineering attack.  The instructions tell someone to remove the access and security permissions from a core system file, overwrite it with one that might make the system look prettier during boot, but who knows what else will happen as a result of the change?  This is also known as a trojan horse - as you accept it through the gates on the assumption that it is a gift from the gods, but infact inside it has lots of the enemies troops.

You have a choice - compromise your system security or wait until StarDock release thier boot screen changer.  Is it really worth risking the integrity of your system for a pretty graphic for a few seconds during startup?

http://www.myvistaboot.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

Changing the boot screen: http://tweakvista.com/article38970.aspx

Boot screen logo generator: http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=527262

 

ttfn

David


Posted Mon, Mar 26 2007 5:12 PM by David Overton

Comments

David Overton's Blog wrote Dreamscapes 3D spinning earth background where lighting changes depending on the time of day - for Vista, amazing!
on Tue, Mar 27 2007 8:08 AM

I just have to share some of the pictures my PC created while running Dreamscapes (free from StarDock

compwerk wrote re: Changing Vista boot screens and opening yourself up to rootkits (or not)
on Fri, Jun 1 2007 1:45 PM
Yes, David...it is worth risking the integrity of your system for a pretty graphic for a few seconds during startup. Microsoft is both loved and hated. It's a "Rage against the Machine" kind of thing. I doubt you would understand.
David Overton wrote re: Changing Vista boot screens and opening yourself up to rootkits (or not)
on Fri, Jun 1 2007 1:49 PM

Now, if I didn't understand, why did I publish the links?  It is nice to do, but something you have to think about before you go ahead and understand the risks.

ttfn

David

MyVistaBoot.com Admin wrote re: Changing Vista boot screens and opening yourself up to rootkits (or not)
on Mon, Jun 25 2007 11:09 AM

Hey, that's my site! Can you tell me what's the difference between stardock and me? My method doesn't need any additional software and is 100% safe! In my tutorials I recommend people to create a backup before downloading a new bootscreen, so I don't see the un-safe side of this story...

David Overton wrote re: Changing Vista boot screens and opening yourself up to rootkits (or not)
on Mon, Jun 25 2007 11:23 AM

Hello "MyVistaBoot.com Admin". This is not a negative statement about your site, but rather that replacing windows code, especially before the full OS kicks in carries risks.  Someone COULD not only change the picture, but inject other nasty code.  It then comes down to how much they trust the source of the files.  If you are not aware of the risks you can't make an informed choice.  Your boot screens are not signed, so could be tampered by anyone.

StarDock code is signed so that if someone abused it, it would not be detected.

thanks

David

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