Deletedmessiah

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Simple Windows Hardening (simplified version of Hard_Configurator):

https://github.com/AndyFul/Hard_Con... Windows Hardening/SimpleWindowsHardening.exe

The manual is also available:
https://github.com/AndyFul/Hard_Con...rdening/Simple Windows Hardening - Manual.pdf

The installer is whitelisted by Microsoft and Avast (waits for whitelisting by Bitdefender and Symantec). For now, it is not accepted by SmartScreen due to the new digital certificate (this issue will last about one month).

View attachment 243776

Simple Windows Hardening (SWH) is a portable application that works on Windows 10 (Home and Pro editions). It is a simple configurator (front end) of advanced security that is already present in Windows 10, but which is not activated by default. This security is based on Software Restriction Policies (SRP) and some useful Windows Policies. It is not intended to work as a standalone security solution, but to support antivirus by reducing the attack surface in the home environment. After the initial configuration made via SWH, it can be closed and all protection comes from the Windows built-in features.

The security setup is adjusted to prevent fileless malware and keep usability. So, the EXE and MSI files are not restricted in SWH, except when executed from archives and email clients. But, scripts, shortcuts, and other files with unsafe extensions are restricted. Such a setup can be very efficient because nowadays, most initial vectors of attack are not related to EXE or MSI files, but other files are used instead.

SWH application is a simplified version of Hard_Configurator. Generally, it will apply the Hard_Configurator Windows_10_Basic_Recommended_Settings (without Forced SmartScreen). These settings can be modified (in a limited way) in SWH, because sometimes on some computers they should be allowed for usability.

The restrictions made by SWH can be switched OFF/ON by using two switches on the right of the green buttons: <Software Restriction Policies> and <Windows Hardening>. In the OFF position, the restrictions are remembered and next removed - Windows default settings are applied for previously restricted features. When switching ON, the remembered settings are restored. Furthermore, in the ON position the configurable settings can be changed by the user from the Settings menu.

View attachment 243777

View attachment 243778

# THE EXE / MSI 0-DAY MALWARE

The SWH application does not apply restrictions to EXE and MSI files, because these files are often used to install/update applications. Nowadays, many antivirus solutions have very good detection of such files, as compared to the detection of scripts. But still, the antivirus proactive features can have a problem with 0-day malware. In the home environment, the main delivery vectors of 0-day malware are spam emails and flash drives (USB drives).

The user has to be very careful when running EXE/MSI files originated from:
  • Internet web links embedded in the emails.
  • Attachments embedded in the emails.
  • Flash drives (USB drives) shared with other people.
When using SWH restrictions, the user can consider the RunBySmartScreen tool. It allows checking any EXE/MSI file against the Microsoft SmartScreen Application Reputation service in the cloud. Many such files are accepted by SmartScreen, and this is the best way to avoid the 0-day malware. If the EXE/MSI file is not recognized by SmartScreen as safe or malicious, then the simplest method is waiting a minimum one day before running the unsafe file. After one day most of the malicious links are dead and most of the 0-day malware are properly detected by a good antivirus.


# QUICK CONFIGURATION
  1. Run SWH - the restrictions are automatically configured.
  2. Log OFF the account or reboot is required, depending on what restrictions were applied before running SWH.
Please keep updated your system/software. Use SWH on the default settings for some time, until you will be accustomed to it. Most users will probably do not see any difference, but rarely a legal script or file with unsafe extension will be blocked by SWH settings. You can use blue buttons <View Blocked Events> and <Manage the Whitelist> to recognize and whitelist the blocked files. Please be careful, if you are not certain that the blocked file is safe, then wait one day or two before whitelisting it.


# SOFTWARE INCOMPATIBILITIES

Windows built-in SRP is incompatible with Child Account activated on Windows 10 via Microsoft Family Safety. Such an account disables most SRP restrictions. This issue is persistent even after removing the Child Account. To recover SRP functionality, Windows has to be refreshed or reset. SWH uses Windows built-in features. Some of them can be removed or added by Microsoft in the future major Windows upgrades. Please use the updated SWH version. The old versions can rarely produce some issues.

SWH is incompatible with SRP introduced via Group Policies Object (GPO) available in Windows Pro, Education, and Enterprise editions. GPO refresh feature will overwrite the SWH settings related to SRP. So, before installing SWH, the SRP has to be removed from GPO.

SWH will also conflict with any software which uses SRP, but such applications are rare (CryptoPrevent, SBGuard, AskAdmin, Ultra Virus Killer). Before installing SWH it will be necessary to uninstall the conflicting application or it will be detected and SWH will replace the SRP settings with predefined settings.
You should update the download link on this main page. 404 error on github.
 

ESecurity

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Nov 15, 2017
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When I try to execute Mu Legend I get this error with SWH. I have to deactivate the restrictions to play it.

Sin título.jpgSin título2.jpg


[Event[0]: Event Id = 865 Local Time: 2021/11/05 06:31:50 EventRecordID = 1561 Execution ProcessID = '13544' ThreadID='7672' Computer = DESKTOP-B8BAI1C UserID='S-1-5-21-240726747-3512128214-290033301-1001' Attempted Path = E:\STEAM\steamapps\common\MU Legend\Binaries\Win32\GameGuard\ggerror.des Description: Default Level SRP block ************************************** ************************************** Event[1]: Event Id = 865 Local Time: 2021/11/05 06:31:24 EventRecordID = 1559 Execution ProcessID = '13544' ThreadID='7672' Computer = DESKTOP-B8BAI1C UserID='S-1-5-21-240726747-3512128214-290033301-1001' Attempted Path = E:\STEAM\steamapps\common\MU Legend\Binaries\Win32\GameGuard.des Description: Default Level SRP block ************************************** **************************************/ICODE][/ISPOILER]
 
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SecureKongo

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When I try to execute Mu Legend I get this error with SWH. I have to deactivate the restrictions to play it.

View attachment 261719View attachment 261720


[Event[0]: Event Id = 865 Local Time: 2021/11/05 06:31:50 EventRecordID = 1561 Execution ProcessID = '13544' ThreadID='7672' Computer = DESKTOP-B8BAI1C UserID='S-1-5-21-240726747-3512128214-290033301-1001' Attempted Path = E:\STEAM\steamapps\common\MU Legend\Binaries\Win32\GameGuard\ggerror.des Description: Default Level SRP block ************************************** ************************************** Event[1]: Event Id = 865 Local Time: 2021/11/05 06:31:24 EventRecordID = 1559 Execution ProcessID = '13544' ThreadID='7672' Computer = DESKTOP-B8BAI1C UserID='S-1-5-21-240726747-3512128214-290033301-1001' Attempted Path = E:\STEAM\steamapps\common\MU Legend\Binaries\Win32\GameGuard.des Description: Default Level SRP block ************************************** **************************************/ICODE][/ISPOILER]
You can simply whitelist those files and not turn off the restrictions completely.
 

JiSingh12

Level 3
Sep 1, 2018
136
So currently I have Windows Defender + SWH in default settings.

If i installed another AV, such as Avast Free, would this cause any problems? Or can i just install that as normal? Do i need to turn off any settings in SWH or restore the windows defaults? Had it on my previous setup as both but just thought i would ask. Fresh OS install and whatnot :p


Thanks
 

SecureKongo

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So currently I have Windows Defender + SWH in default settings.

If i installed another AV, such as Avast Free, would this cause any problems? Or can i just install that as normal? Do i need to turn off any settings in SWH or restore the windows defaults? Had it on my previous setup as both but just thought i would ask. Fresh OS install and whatnot :p


Thanks
SWH can be run alongside your AV without any problems. It is actually a complementary tool that is great for attack surface reduction in addition to your main antivirus. One of its strengths is the prevention of fileless attacks that many AVs struggle to deal with.
 

Andy Ful

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So currently I have Windows Defender + SWH in default settings.

If i installed another AV, such as Avast Free, would this cause any problems? Or can i just install that as normal? Do i need to turn off any settings in SWH or restore the windows defaults? Had it on my previous setup as both but just thought i would ask. Fresh OS install and whatnot :p


Thanks
There should not be any problems.(y)
 

wat0114

Level 5
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Apr 5, 2021
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So I have a question about SWH. It looks like some people are using this combined with Hard_Configurator, yet according to the SWH-Manual I read this near the beginning of it:

SWH application is a simplified version of Hard_Configurator. When run-
ning SWH, the below Hard_Configurator restrictions are set to Windows de-
fault values and cannot be configured:
<Block Sponsors>, <Update Mode>, <Hide ‘Run As Administrator>, <For-
ced SmartScreen>, <Shell Extension Security>, <MSI Elevation>, <UAC
CTRL_ALT_DEL>, and <Disable Elevation on SUA>.

The way I understand it, perhaps incorrectly, is that if one is already using H_C, then SWH is not required. Is this right, or can this combined with H_C result in stronger Windows security?
 

oldschool

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The way I understand it, perhaps incorrectly, is that if one is already using H_C, then SWH is not required. Is this right,
Yes. H_C > SWH.

In fact, most forum members could use hardened Microsoft Defender alone, or with SWH and be completely comfortable. Curiosity or "security paranoia" are the typical reasons for additional protections. Thus, my motto: Stay safe, not paranoid! :D
 

wat0114

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Apr 5, 2021
237
Yes. H_C > SWH.
Thank you!
In fact, most forum members could use hardened Microsoft Defender alone, or with SWH and be completely comfortable. Curiosity or "security paranoia" are the typical reasons for additional protections. Thus, my motto: Stay safe, not paranoid! :D
But as @Andy Ful has correctly mentioned before, this is fun for me and a kind of hobby :D
 

Andy Ful

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SWH = H_C set with Windows_10_Basic_Recommended_Settings.
Many users apply more restrictive setting profiles when using H_C (including ConfigureDefender, FirewallHardening, and Documents AntiExploit tool). But, in the home environment SWH is enough, except if one likes very strong protection.
 
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paulderdash

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Apr 28, 2015
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Andy (I know OSA has been discussed here before, but) ... just asking because I have licenses for OSA ...

Is there some benefit to running OSA in default basic, or medium, mode on top of SWH (at recommended settings) and if so, is there anything to look out for or change?
Or would the benefit be too marginal, or cause problems for the home user?
 

Andy Ful

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Andy (I know OSA has been discussed here before, but) ... just asking because I have licenses for OSA ...

Is there some benefit to running OSA in default basic, or medium, mode on top of SWH (at recommended settings) and if so, is there anything to look out for or change?
Or would the benefit be too marginal, or cause problems for the home user?
I am not sure, I did not test OSA for a long time. OSA is complex protection with many options appropriate for the business environment. SWH is adjusted for home users. There are probably some attack vectors not covered by OSA and covered by SWH, and vice versa.
I think that OSA on max settings can apply stronger protection.
 
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