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Chapter 2. The Design and Architecture o... > Windows Wizardry: Protecting Against...

Windows Wizardry: Protecting Against Viruses and Trojan Horses

Speaking of security, one way Windows 2000 Professional increases security is through an option that prevents trojan horse viruses from breaking into your computer. Trojan horses are programs that act like another program, fooling the user, and typically grabbing the information the user enters, later using it against the system. A good case in point is a program that pretends to be a network or workstation login dialog box. The user then types in a name and password, and the program steals it, later using it to gain entry to the system, even to the network. Data theft, erasure, or corruption can then occur.

To ensure that a sign-on box is legitimate, Windows NT always required that you press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to sign in. Counterintuitive to Windows 3.x users, this keypress didn't reboot the system. (In fact, you couldn't reboot the system this way, no matter how many times you pressed this key combination.) What it did was flush the portion of RAM where a trojan horse could be residing and bring up a true login dialog box.


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