Andy Ful

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The dedicated website (thanks to @askalan):
Hard Configurator


Hard_Configurator was created after discussion on the below treads:

Secure Windows - Software restriction Policies to Windows Home
Windows Pro owner? Use Software Restriction Policies!
Poll - Do you use security reg tweaks?
Run by Smartscreen utility

Some useful information is also available here:
1. Download Hard_Configurator 4.0.0.2
2. GitHub - AndyFul/Hard_Configurator: GUI to Manage Software Restriction Policies and harden Windows Home OS


What it can do?

This program can configure Windows built-in security to harden the system. When you close Hard_Configurator it closes all its processes. The real-time protection comes from the reconfigured Windows settings. Hard_Configurator can be seen as a Medium Integrity Level smart default-deny setup, which is based on SRP + Application Reputation Service (forced SmartScreen) + Windows hardening settings (restricting vulnerable features).
Hard_Configurator makes changes in Windows Registry to accomplish the tasks enumerated below:
  1. Enabling Software Restriction Policies (SRP) in Windows Home editions.
  2. Changing SRP Security Levels, Enforcement options, and Designated File Types.
  3. Whitelisting files in SRP by path (also with wildcards) and by hash.
  4. Blocking vulnerable system executables via SRP (Bouncer black list).
  5. Protecting (deny execution) writable subfolders in "C:\Windows" folder (via SRP).
  6. Restricting shortcut execution to some folders only (via SRP).
  7. Enabling Windows Defender advanced settings, like PUA protection, ASR rules, Network Protection etc.
  8. Protecting against weaponized documents, when MS Office and Adobe Acrobat Reader XI/DC are used to open them.
  9. Enabling "Run as administrator" for MSI files.
  10. Disabling PowerShell script execution (Windows 7+).
  11. Securing PowerShell by Constrained Language mode (SRP, PowerShell 5.0+)
  12. Disabling execution of scripts managed by Windows Script Host.
  13. Removing "Run As Administrator" option from the Explorer right-click context menu.
  14. Forcing SmartScreen check for files without 'Mark Of The Web' (Windows 8+).
  15. Disabling Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance, Remote Shell, and Remote Registry.
  16. Disabling execution of 16-bit applications.
  17. Securing Shell Extensions.
  18. Disabling SMB protocols.
  19. Disabling program elevation on Standard User Account.
  20. Disabling Cached Logons.
  21. Forcing Secure Attention Sequence before User Account Control prompt.
  22. Filtering Windows Event Log for blocked file execution events (Nirsoft FullEventLogView).
  23. Filtering autoruns from the User Space, and script autoruns from anywhere (Sysinternals Autorunsc).
  24. Enabling&Filtering Advanced SRP logging.
  25. Turning ON/OFF all above restrictions.
  26. Restoring Windows Defaults.
  27. Making System Restore Point.
  28. Using predefined setting profiles for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.
  29. Saving the chosen restrictions as a profile, and restoring when needed.
  30. Backup management for Profile Base (whitelist profiles and setting profiles).
  31. Changing GUI skin.
  32. Updating application.
  33. Uninstalling application (Windows defaults restored).
All the above tasks (except forcing Smartscreen check) can be made by hand using Windows regedit. Anyway, with Hard_Configurator, it can be done more quickly and safely.
This program was created for advanced users to secure inexperienced users. :)
 
Last edited:

Andy Ful

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Beautiful...thank you...:)

UPDATE:
Win. Defender don't like it...
View attachment 126364

Will try with Exclude Options...
View attachment 126365
Thanks. I had the same problem with RunBySmartscreen_1.0.3. After testing some malware samples, Windows Defender Heuristics flagged it as a trojan. Thankfully, after submitting it as a false positive, Microsoft qualified RunBySmartscreen_1.0.3 as clean.
Submission History Details
Yet, the new version RunBySmartscreen_2.0.1 is now flagged as a trojan.
Today, I will submit Hard_Configurator_1.0.0 and RunBySmartscreen_2.0.1 as false positives.
I hope, that Microsoft will be generous, and accept that Hard_Configurator can activate some Windows Pro capabilities in Windows Home.:)
 
Last edited:

Andy Ful

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If someone installed Hard_Configurator in the real system, please add the quarantined files: RunBySmartscreen_2.0.1.zip, Hard_Configurator(x64).exe and RunAsSmartScreen(x64).exe (or in 32Bit system Hard_Configurator(x86).exe and RunAsSmartScreen(x86).exe ) to Windows Defender exclusions .
If the detection happened after installing Hard_Configurator, it is recommended also to install it again to have control over applied restrictions.
Sorry for the inconvenience.:(

Edited.
I think that there is a simpler method. If the executables are recovered from quarantine, then Windows Defender will ignore them.
 
Last edited:

Andy Ful

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You have three folders whitelisted by path in SRP (the paths: C:\Users\... and D:\...). The first path I think, is for Google Chrome and others for portable applications. All those folders are vulnerable to drive by attacks - you can run any program from those folders and bypass SRP. You are advanced user, so you know what you are doing. For inexperienced users, whitelisting by hash is much safer.
By the way, I did not see a malware file in the wild, that could exploit the above loopholes.
 

Andy Ful

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Hard_Configurator is suited to advanced users who want to configure computers of inexperienced users. Inexperienced users first try to open/run/install files by mouse click or pressing ENTER key. This is protected by Software Restriction Policies and script blocking. So, media files, documents, photos, and already installed applications can be opened without any problem, but scripts and executables are blocked (in the User Space). Next, they try to use 'Run As Administrator' from Explorer context menu to bypass SRP blocking. This is protected by script blocking, and replacing 'Run As Administrator' by 'Run As SmartScreen'.
'Run As SmartScreen' performs SmartScreen check, and if the file is considered as safe, then allows to execute it. For inexperienced users SRP without 'Run As Smartscreen' is in many cases vulnerable to the 0-day malware attacks, if run with Administrative Rights. This can be more destructive than running files without SRP, because execution by mouse click (or pressing ENTER) does not automatically elevate integrity level. There is no such danger to experienced users, if they know why some files cannot be flagged with "Mark of the Web", and then must be ignored by SmartScreen App on the Run.
Yet, such security is not good for children, because they mostly do not respect SmartScreen alerts.

Hard_Configurator can be a good solution for inexperienced users if they:
* can respect SmartScreen check (always) and can get help from experienced user (from time to time);
* do not install many programs/games/utilities, especially when installed software is not popular;
* accept replacing the program that has problem with Hard_Configurator restrictions (rarely);

If so, the Hard_Configurator restrictions do not cause problems with always changing Windows OS, and provide very good security. This is especially important with Windows 10, where many antimalware programs can still have serious issues after system updates.
 

Andy Ful

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@Andy Ful Thanks for sharing your program. I like your idea of protecting the computers of inexperienced users by utilising system tweaks. My parent's laptop is currently protected by KIS 2016. Would the changes made by your program be compatible with KIS?
But anyway, script blocking or Untrusted Fonts protection may not be the bad idea. I do not know how effective is KIS with malicious scripts.
 
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