Sticky Keys Exploit


  • Sticky keys (sethc.exe) within C:\Windows\System32 is too commonly replaced by a re-named copy of CMD.exe (to sethc.exe), and, placed into the System32 directory.

    From the login screen, the shift key is then quickly tapped 5 times which allows winlogon.exe to run CMD presenting a CLI at Administrator level - this happens pre-logon...

    From this elevated CLI, commands may be entered to enable the Administrator account (e.g., "Net User Administrator/Active:yes"), and upon reboot, the administrator account is now accessible with no password. Also, from this CLI at next login, the activated Administrator account may be given personal security (e.g., "Net User Administrator newpassword" which equates to a new Administrator password being set. I have even seen iexplore.exe run from this CLI at YouTube before logon.

    This exploit will surely damage the Microsoft brand if not addressed!

    I am hoping to gather ideas on how Windows can be made to ENSURE this exploit does not continue. Thanks in advance!

    Monday, March 11, 2013 9:32 AM


  • You can turn off Keyboard Sticky from All Control Panel Items\Ease of Access Center\Set up Sticky Keys

    Niki Han
    TechNet Community Support

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013 2:46 AM