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Foolproof is a desktop security software used on Windows 9x platforms. Many school districts across the world are taking it on as their only form of internal security. Unfortunately, the name has falsely made them believe that they are secure.

I was originally given the task of checking how secure this software was for my school district while I was in my final year of high school. Upon sitting down at the machine you will notice that it loads a boot lock (wonít allow any "F" keys to be pressed unless a password is entered and once you get to a Dos prompt you will notice that there isnít anything on the drives. If you break out a copy of Fdisk you will see that the boot lock program has changed the partitions into non-Dos partitions so they cannot be messed with). Once you boot the computer into Windows the first thing this software does is load itself into every part of memory that your computer will allow. This allows the software to prevent the use of certain programs that are specified in the settings by hogging all the memory which will stop the it from loading because there is no memory left to bring the program up. Another thing noticed is the wonderful little lock program down in your taskbar telling you the machine is locked (Doesnít this just beg to be messed with?).

Now that Iíve given some background on the program, here comes the fun part. How to get around it.

1. 32-bit Software protection

oolproof is a 32-bit application. For some reason or another they didnít program any 16-bit protection. If Foolproof has been setup to block the visibility of some network drives all you have to do is go into the root of your windows folder and run Ďfileman.exeí (I realize this is stupid, but you wouldnít believe how many school districts leave this one open). Once File Manager is open you should be able to see and access all drives that you were locked out of in My Computer.

2. Password in plaintext?

This is another one I was never able to understand. If you are going to have such a secure program, why can you take a memory dump of the machine and find the password in plain text? Iím not sure if this one works on newer versions, but on older versions you just had to do a search in the memory and find ĎFoolprí (that was another thing, I donít know if they thought it would be more secure if they didnít put the whole name or what, but that is how you find it). Usually there are two passwords you want to find. The one to get in and change settings, and a password to a higher access level then what the machine boots up to.

3. Remove it

The best way to get rid of a program is to remove it. So this is how. When you are first booting and the background to Windows first comes up hit ctrl-alt-del (Must be before anything loads. Ex. Boot logo just disappeared, background shows up, hit ctrl-alt-del). This will bring up the Close Program dialog window. Now double click outside of the window a couple of times really quickly until Task Manager comes up (you will learn that Task Manager can be your best friend in many situations. It may take you a couple of times to get Task Manager up, but it will work eventually). From this point click on File and then Run Application. Type in "deltree /y C:SSS" (this is the default directory to Foolproof. You might want to do some looking around before you decide this is the directory you want to completely delete). At this point, some computers will freeze. Itís okay. Just hit ctrl-alt-del again and close down Task Manager or whatever non-responding applications are open. Once they are closed the deltree operation should continue and delete the Foolproof directory before the registry goes to load it. Once Windows finishes itís loading process (whether you have to login to the network first or not, load the desktop and startup applications, etc.) will be when the .dll errors will start happening. Write them down and remove them out of the registry. Now Foolproof is removed far enough to allow you full access of the local machine and whatever kind of network access your user possesses on the network.

4. Bootlock

Remember earlier where I mentioned that it turns all partitions into Non-Dos partitions? Well, lets have some fun with this. There are two ways that I know of to remove Bootlock. First, if you have a copy of Foolproof laying out on a shared network drive go grab it (it doesnít matter if it has custom settings in it or not. If it doesnít have custom settings in it, then why are you reading this?). Run the installer for Foolproof. When it asks you if you wish to make an emergency repair disk, say yes. Use this disk to get to a command prompt and then type ĎFPMOD -Rí. This should remove Bootlock for you so you can now have access to the Dos layer of your computer if you boot with a boot disk. The second way I know of getting around Bootlock is also with a bootdisk. Make a bootdisk and put a copy of fdisk.exe and ndd.exe (found in older version of Norton Utilities. Make sure it is the Dos version) on it. Boot the computer with the disk and Fdisk all the Non-Dos partitions. Exit out of Fdisk and reboot with the disk still in the drive. Once you are back at the prompt again run ndd.exe. It will scan all hard drives and then come up asking you if you used to have a hard drive but you arenít able to access it now. Tell it yes and it should restore the partitions without Bootlock.

5. Novell Client

If you are on a network where the Novell Netware Client is used, here is a good one for you. When at the Novell login screen hit F1. This brings up the wonderful help system for the Novell client. Like most people that program help files, they are too lazy to take out the features that arenít needed. First go to File ŗ Open. From this point find the Foolproof directory (usually C:SSS) and rename it to whatever you want. Exit out of the help system and login to the network. Once you are at the desktop of your computer restart your machine. When the computer boots back help youíll get a couple of errors that have to do with Foolproof, but Foolproof will be gone. Do whatever you wish to do with Foolproof turned off and when you are done just rename the directory back to its original name. Wasnít that simple?

Iím sure there are many more ways to get around this sorry excuse for security software, but I havenít had the time to try any new methods. I figure if you got something that works, keep on using it till it doesnít. I might write another article in the future, but this will be it for now. Greetz out to CyberArmy, Packetstorm, Sensimilla, Monkee, and all my friends on Efnet.