Are you a fan of customizing your Windows experience via themes? While it’s true that a majority of Windows users don’t use themes, even though they’re still highly popular. However, Windows Theme Packs Used To Hack Passwords.
The hackers are not targeting self-created themes. The danger lies in downloading theme packs from other creators, especially if you get them through a source you don’t know and trust implicitly.
Savvy hackers who are using Windows Theme Packs to Hack Passwords can now create “poison” themes that can steal Windows credentials. Security researcher Jimmy Bayne discovered the new plan to hack passwords when he stumbled across a poisoned theme capable of tricking unsuspecting users into accessing a remote SMB share that requires authentication.
How Passwords are Attacked
When the user attempts to access the remote resource that requires a login, Windows responds by automatically logging in, using your Windows user name and their hashed password. Naturally, the savvy hacker sets up the attack to control the remote resource and thus, can harvest the credentials and de-hash the password at their leisure.
Microsoft has spent the last few years migrating away from local Windows 10 accounts and is leaning more heavily on the Cloud. This action makes the theme-based attack much more likely to succeed.
Even worse, Microsoft Windows expresses no interest in fixing this particular flaw, because according to a spokesman for the company, it’s working as it is supposed to. That puts regular theme users in something of a bind.
Your first best defense against this type of attack is to make any themes you want to use yourself, or if you download a theme pack, be sure you’re getting it from a trusted source.
Your only other viable option is to block or re-associate the .theme, .themepack, or .desktopthemepackfile extensions to a different program. However, this approach will break the theme functionality, so it can only be used by those who don’t need to switch from one theme to another frequently.
It’s not a common attack, but it is something to be watching.