One way of adding an additional layer of security to your Windows computer is by enabling secure logon. By enabling secure logon, users are required to press Ctrl+Alt+Del before they can enter their credentials and log on.
Secure logon – Ctrl+Alt+Del
Secure logon offers a keystroke sequence that cannot be intercepted by any application. When secure logon is enabled, no other malicious program can intercept your user name and password as you enter it. (NOTE: Please read comment below).
Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del ensures that the authentic Windows logon screen appears. To enable secure logon, open Run, type Control Userpasswords2 or netplwiz and hit Enter to open the User Accounts Properties box.
Open the Advanced tab, and in the Secure logon section, click to clear the Require users to press Ctrl+Alt+Delete check box if you want to disable the CTRL+ALT+DELETE sequence. Click Apply/OK > Exit.
Now the next time to logon you will see your Windows 8 lock screen with the following display in the top-left corner.
Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del will allow you to enter your Windows logon password.
Disable CTRL+ALT+DELETE using Group Policy
If you wish, you can also enforce this policy, using the Local Security Policy. To do so, Run secpol.msc and hit Enter.
In the left pane, select Local Policies > Security Options. Now in the right pane, double click on Interactive logon: Do not require CTRL+ALT+DEL.
This security setting determines whether pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL is required before a user can log on. If this policy is enabled on a computer, a user is not required to press CTRL+ALT+DEL to log on. Not having to press CTRL+ALT+DEL leaves users susceptible to attacks that attempt to intercept the users’ passwords. Requiring CTRL+ALT+DEL before users log on ensures that users are communicating by means of a trusted path when entering their passwords. If this policy is disabled, any user is required to press CTRL+ALT+DEL before logging on to Windows.
Enable or Disable the policy as per your requirement, click Apply/OK and Exit.
By default the policy is enabled on Windows 8 domain-computers, and disabled on Windows 7 or earlier. The policy is enabled by default on stand-alone computers.
Disable Secure Logon using Registry
Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
In the right pane, right-click on DisableCAD and click on Modify.
- To Disable Secure Logon, type 1.
- To Enable Secure Logon, type 0.
Microsoft has also released a Fix It that lets you easily enable or disable the Ctrl+Alt+Del sequence for logging. More on that here at this post titles enable or disable CTRL+ALT+DELETE requirement for logon.