Q: What is AW GoOn?
A: AW GoOn allows you to launch a number of selected applications with Full Administrator Privileges without UAC prompts and need to enter any Administrator credentials. AW GoOn is not the same as the RunAs console utility, it is totally different.
Q: Is this a breakthrough?
A: It is a real breakthrough and for the following reasons:
- It is much safer than entering Administrator credentials every time you need.
- It is much easier, just point and click to launch the application with Full Administrator Privileges without UAC prompts (if you are on Windows 7, Server 2008 or Vista).
- The user does not need to have any Administrators Group account on the computer, he may be just a Standard User without further accounts.
- Unlike other solutions, it does not make applications run under the Local System, they run indeed under a Full Privileged Administrator account.
Q: Why it is safer than any other solution?
A: AW GoOn is safer because the applications you have selected to run with Full Administrator Privileges can not be tampered with! You have a full guarantee that you are launching the applications you selected and not others with the same names in the same paths and even with the same interfaces (for example, if a virus attaches to them)!
Since there is no need to provide Administrator Credentials in any circumstance to launch the selected applications\files, this means as well that either in the office or at home there are no reasons to provide users with Administrator Accounts.
Q: How is it possible to launch High-Privileged applications without Administrator Account credentials?
A: When an account is setup, Administrator Account credentials have to be provided. Those credentials are encrypted in multiple ways turning unfeasible its recovery by any practical means. Moreover, different computers have different encrypting keys, which render impossible to produce a generic decrypting method. On top of that, the parts of the AW GoOn software handling critical operations are strongly encrypted as well, can’t be decrypted by any current hacker tools. The protection given by AW GoOn is at the highest possible level that can be achieved these days.
Q: Why it is easier with AW GoOn?
A: The principle that makes it easier is that you only need to log in to the AW GoOn software with some password to be able to launch the applications/files from the list. Once logged in you can launch any number of them until you log off or turn off your computer. In a real scenario, you may be a full time Standard User on that computer, without knowledge of credentials of any member of the Administrators Group.
Q: Is it possible to use AW GoOn to run or install software by categories? For example, ActiveX controls, Setup.exe or Setup.msi files?
A: We can not keep a safe environment while at the same time open a door for external contamination of the environment. Installing ActiveX controls and new applications in the computer is indeed a task for an Administrator not for a Standard User. We have seen self-proclaimed software lockdown solutions going that route, but in our opinion it is even more dangerous than letting users run as Administrators.
Q: AW GoOn appears simple, can I rely on it?
A: Not simple, it is made to be easy to use, but it is very sophisticated and powerful. A great effort has been made, and extensive tests performed, to prevent every possible form of privilege escalation, i.e, a Standard User or malware gain higher privileges. For example, it is very unlikely to find that a buffer overflow will handle control to any malware.
Q: Can the Administrator password be found if AW GoOn is decompiled?
A: That is not possible, critical parts of AW GoOn solution can not be decompiled by any known means. Even if decompilation could succeed, it is impossible to decrypt the Administrator password because it is partially encrypted with the Login password. Finally, the place where the Administrator’s password is stored can not be read by a Standard User Account.
Q: Can the Administrator password be found by using a debugger to single-step the program and search memory?
A: That question does not apply here, simply because Standard User Accounts have no privilege for that. A high-skilled hacker running with high-privileges can in theory do that with any kind of software, but that is not the case here and is just theory.
Q: Which precautions must an Administrator take when selecting applications to be launched by AW GoOn?
A: Applications able to fork new child processes must not be selected when the environment is not fully trustable. For example, selecting cmd.exe, the command line interpreter, is opening a door for any other application be launched from it. Of course, if you are in a trustable environment you can do it. Same reasoning applies if we change Policy to allow launching through file association (selectable from Config.exe).
Q: What happens if the AW GoOn Gadget is modified?
Q: Can the AW GoOn Login password be guessed by brute force trials?
A: After a not large number (we will not disclose how large) of consecutive failures it will always report failure until next computer reboot. This turns unfeasible a brute force attack if the Login password is not too weak.