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  1. #1

    Windows Vista and Windower

    I just read a fairly interesting blog post about a very technical aspect of Windows Vista that I feel has a lot of potential for causing serious problems for Windower, and possibly breaking Windower for good. Keep this in mind when you're planning to upgrade your OS to Vista. A link to the blog article is here:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/michael_howard/ar ... 08315.aspx

    In summary, when you run a program (e.g. click an Icon in Windows) that corresponds to a single file. This file doesn't contain the entire code for the program, the code is split up among many files. So, the first file calls upon the services of the code that exists in many other files. When this happens, the Operating System loads all this other code and data into memory so that it may execute it.

    In current versions of the operating system, Windows uses a deterministic method of figuring out WHERE in memory to put this other code and data. Thus, for something like Windower which relies on offsets hardcoded into the program, there is no problem. Since all the code and data is loaded into the same places every time the application is run, these tools like Windower, etc can be guaranteed that their hardcoded "offsets" or "memlocs" will work every time the application is launched.

    With Vista, this will change, and this load order is "seeded" at the time you boot the operating system. So, each time you reboot, memlocs will change. Not because the application itself changed, but because the OS is relocating the memory transparently.

    Something to think about for Windower fans.

  2. #2

    hmm interesting.

  3. #3
    Nidhogg
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    It's quite possible to write code to determine memlocs on the fly, it will simply add a significant load time to the Windower when you launch it each time after reboot.

  4. #4

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterBob
    It's quite possible to write code to determine memlocs on the fly, it will simply add a significant load time to the Windower when you launch it each time after reboot.
    Except for that fact that we get updates like once a year lol. And yea, like it said in the article the technique isn't undefeatable, it just adds a bit of a headache. The question is whether it's going to be so much of a headache that the guy who writes windower doesn't bother with it, which seems likely given the speed of updates.

  5. #5
    Hydra
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    Why is it that "one" guy has Windower figured out and no else seems to have? It seems illogical that one person could figure something out that another person of the same skillset can't.

    I'm sure someone else out there has this figured out and maybe is just keeping quiet. >.>

  6. #6
    Sea Torques
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    the good news is that the JP will write something.

    sup ffassist <3

    ..and sup every other fuckin hack.

  7. #7
    Banned.

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    Could they really let something like this happen? It would cause some backward compatibility for many programs.

  8. #8
    Nidhogg
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    Lots of people have it figured out. It's just a matter of whether or not you want to devote your time to it. Many people on this forum, including myself could probably make you a new Windower. But really, what's the point? Archbell's Windower is still decent, and the premier JP one is still awesome.

    Backwards compatability issues wont be huge, only programs that need to hook other programs will be in jeopardy.

  9. #9

    The good news is that microsoft is going to need to expose current functionality (like hooking/injecting into running process) under Vista or else they're going to have a lot of angry developers to deal with. Farewell, debugging, was nice knowing you.

  10. #10

    It also just occured to me that in the article it said "this feature will be on by default". maybe there's a way to turn it off? I guess that would make things simpler, but I'd expect them to kind of phase it in to the point that eventually it will not be able to be turned off. Not sure how long that would take though

  11. #11
    Nidhogg
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    Knowing MS they'll make you use Visual Studio for all your debugging needs :D



    (Until someone reverse engineers the necessary processes, which probably won't take incredibly long, MS still underestimates the power of people determined the mess with their stuff)

  12. #12

    Sweaty Dick Punching Enthusiast

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    I don't think this is all encompassing.

    So what is ASLR? In short, when you boot a Windows Vista Beta 2 computer, we load system code into different locations in memory. This helps defeat a well-understood attack called “return-to-libc”, where exploit code attempts to call a system function, such as the socket() function in wsock32.dll to open a socket, or LoadLibrary in kernel32.dll to load wsock32.dll in the first place. The job of ASLR is to move these function entry points around in memory so they are in unpredictable locations. In the case of Windows Vista Beta 2, a DLL or EXE could be loaded into any of 256 locations, which means an attacker has a 1/256 chance of getting the address right. In short, this makes it harder for exploits to work correctly.
    If I'm reading it right...

    System code at startup will have randomized memlocs to help enhance security. It doesn't say anything about evey application behaving similarly so FFXI should be OK. FFXI's DLLs aren't registered system DLLs loading at startup.

    Pretty easy to check if you've got a copy of Vista Beta 2 running. Fire up FFXI and see if the memlocs are changing each time you load the game. Or if Windower or *InsertBotHere* crashes.

    To be honest I'd be far more worried about Data Execution Protection.

  13. #13
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    Supposedly the JP windower is superior to archbells and would probably counter it. I have a copy of it, and it does work but I can't read Japanese so I have no plugins for it, no idea how macros work, basically no idea what I'm doing besides playing in a window (which graphically looks alot worse than archbells anyways.)

    Until there's good NA support or at least a translation site I can't really move to it, even though it appears to take alot less overhead.

  14. #14

    Quote Originally Posted by TsingTao
    To be honest I'd be far more worried about Data Execution Protection.
    Data Execution Protection shouldn't affect the process of injecting code into a running process. It should only affect the process of entering code into an application where the application expects data, and then getting the program to execute that code.

    And yea, it's not clear whether this will be for all code, or only for system code. I would think they would do it for all code though.

  15. #15
    Ridill
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    Re: Windows Vista and Windower

    Quote Originally Posted by divisortheory
    In summary, when you run a program (e.g. click an Icon in Windows) that corresponds to a single file. This file doesn't contain the entire code for the program, the code is split up among many files. So, the first file calls upon the services of the code that exists in many other files. When this happens, the Operating System loads all this other code and data into memory so that it may execute it.

    In current versions of the operating system, Windows uses a deterministic method of figuring out WHERE in memory to put this other code and data. Thus, for something like Windower which relies on offsets hardcoded into the program, there is no problem. Since all the code and data is loaded into the same places every time the application is run, these tools like Windower, etc can be guaranteed that their hardcoded "offsets" or "memlocs" will work every time the application is launched.
    Sounds like a convoluted way of just using DLLs to accomplish the same thing. Though, according to the article, they're loaded into different locations in memory each time, as well, which ends up causing the same problem.

  16. #16

    Sweaty Dick Punching Enthusiast

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    Data Execution Protection shouldn't affect the process of injecting code into a running process. It should only affect the process of entering code into an application where the application expects data, and then getting the program to execute that code.
    Ahh, I see your point. Thanks for clearing that up.

    And yea, it's not clear whether this will be for all code, or only for system code. I would think they would do it for all code though.
    From a security standpoint I agree with you, I'd think they would do it for all code. The blog wording leads me to think otherwise.

    Time to go do some research tonight after the kids are asleep. Been out of serious IT too long and I'm not up to speed.

  17. #17
    New Spam Forum
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    or how about people just don't use windows?

  18. #18
    Nidhogg
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    Good luck playing FFXI on a computer. Some people have gotten it to work on some distros of Linux, however it is still unstable and you cannot window it.


    If you're going to be a bandwagon-jumping anti-windows fuck, at least make sense.

  19. #19
    Pandemonium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtlesoup
    or how about people just don't use windows?
    Because its fucking retarded for people to do nothing else BUT play FFXI? Like its so horrible for someone to play and surf the web at the same time. No other MMORPG, or any game on the market for that matter continuously goes out of their way to block people from windowing their program. If you wanna suffer and play unwindowed FFXI fine, but if you're gonna sit here and tell us "just dont run window lawlz", GTFO.

  20. #20
    Relic Horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterBob
    If you're going to be a bandwagon-jumping anti-windows fuck, at least make sense.
    Before you go calling people who are anti-windows "fucks", see if you can name me 10 people you know who have legit, paid copies of Windows XP. And I don't mean the versions that come with your computer, I mean actual separate paid versions.

    The idea of paying for an operating system is pretty fucked up. I personally wish someone would make it work nicely on linux so I can use windows strictly for .NET programming and nothing else.

    Of course, if you meant "anti-windower" instead of "anti-windows," then what I just said is moot.

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