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Controlling applications in Windows

Many current systems control the Windows Program Manager, implying that this approach controls the users, too. But what about all the functions in File Manager, and the many macro systems available? Controls based on Program Manager alone provide a false sense of security. File Manager can be used to create new icons in Program Manager using the “drag and drop” technique, and applications can be started from the Run menu or by double-clicking. A number of applications are able to launch the DOS shell. Most modern access control programs include a function that blocks the facility to obtain the DOS shell. The macro systems in Word and Excel offer virtually unlimited opportunity to the expert. For example, the “Connect” command allows the user to establish new network connections. It is obvious that unless we can prevent these commands being issued, we cannot control what the user will be able to access. A controlled version of File Manager that would be safe to use might have the following restrictions :

1. Applications cannot be started by double-clicking.

2. A series of menu options are removed, including the Run menu.

3. Program Manager is hidden when File Manager is active, to prevent “dragging and dropping” files to create new icons.

4. Executable files are not shown.

All Windows applications send and receive messages. Menus, list boxes, etc. are displayed on the basis of these messages. A small number of access control products on the market are capable of controlling these messages.

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