Author Topic: Settings for running Steam [Draft] [v6] [v7]  (Read 12956 times)

Offline mouse1

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Settings for running Steam [Draft] [v6] [v7]
« on: May 08, 2014, 04:36:26 AM »
This is a draft. Please tell me if it works for you. I tested on Win 8.1 with the Hammerfight v1.004 game.

About Steam
Steam is a game environment consisting mainly of
  • a program Steam.exe located in the main steam directory that is used to run game programs from another directory, and another SteamService.exe located in another directory  which is used to run games needing admin permissions and Steam and games installers
  • these games may be unknown to CIS and may use unusual hacks, and/or virus-like behavior to gain performance
  • the steam executables and some games need incoming as well as outgoing connections for some tasks, and which themselves exhibit some unsual behavior and have been mistaken for viruses
  • Several other special purpose executables in various directories

Using it with CIS is problematic both for the above reasons and because games are usually run full screen, and may suppress Alt-Tab and so CIS alerts may not be received or accessible. Also games may lock themselves into full screen mode so that they are impossible to navigate away from to answer alerts without closing the program which may be impossible is frozen by CIS.

As a consequence unusually permissive settings are required to run Steam, settings that assume all games are trusted. An alternative for those unwilling allow such access is to run games in Windowed mode (if permitted) when first run, unsandbox executables from sandbox notifications and watch for and allow other alerts with 'remember settings' on. This will not always work as access required may depend on the level you reach within the game. A compromise between these approaches for people running with HIPS on and in custom firewall mode has been suggested by Clockwork here and here. You could of course also use game mode, or training mode in different CIS modules. But that puts the whole computer into a permissive mode and so is even less secure than the permissive Steams-specific settings suggested below. However game mode may be an advantage if maximum performance is needed at the expense of security.


Permissive settings for Steam
The following settings assume that the Steam Games you run are not malware, and neither they nor the directories that contain them are infected by malware. Please note that the settings will pose a security risk if this is not correct.

The <Installation Directory> referred to below will normally be C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam on 64 bit systems and C:\Program Files\Steam on 32 bit systems, unless you have changed it.

A. If Anitvirus and the Firewall are enabled, which they are by default, do the following:
  • Set Firewall Tasks ~ Stealth ports into alert mode
  • In Advanced Settings ~ Firewall ~ Applications settings, add <Installation Directory>\* and apply the Allowed Application policy to it.
  • In Advanced Settings ~ Antivirus ~ Excluded Paths and Excluded Applications add the folder <Installation Directory>\*
  • In Advanced Settings ~ Defense + ~ Behavior Blocker exclude the same folder from Buffer Overflow Protection

B. If you are using the Behavior Blocker which is on by default, do the following:
  • In Advanced Settings ~ Defense + ~ Behavior Blocker ~ Exclusions add <Installation Directory>\Steam.exe and <Installation Directory>\bin\SteamService.exe, and tick exclude child processes

C. If you are using HIPS, which is off by default in the default IS config, but on in proactive config. do the following:
  • In Advanced Settings ~ Defense + ~ HIPS ~ Application rules apply the Installer/Updater policy to  <Installation Directory>\Steam.exe and <Installation Directory>\bin\SteamService.exe
  • If running in paranoid mode, apply the 'Allowed Application' policy to all Steam executables in <Installation Directory> and <Installation Directory>\bin

Then: restart the computer

These settings should deal with the vast majority of games. However if you get problems double check the Firewall Stealth settings are set to alert inbound connections, not block them, run the game in Windowed mode (not full screen) and watch for alerts from games or svchost.exe.

Best wishes

Mouse
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 09:51:45 AM by mouse1 »

Offline Sanya IV Litvyak

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2014, 05:05:26 AM »
Personally I'm using HIPS and it has been working fine with just steam.exe as installer/updater (instead of a whole group)

However allowing steam to be run as installer/updater and excluding everything for it from the sandbox might be a bad idea, the steam games don't need to be malware however as recently proven with Gmod they can be used as attack vectors for malware creators (the exploit in Gmod is fixed now though) I'm still going to run steam as Installer/Updater though, I can't be bothered with setting up extensive rules for everything every time I install a new game and play a new game, it's a major pain.
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Offline mouse1

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2014, 05:11:06 AM »
Personally I'm using HIPS and it has been working fine with just steam.exe as installer/updater (instead of a whole group)

However allowing steam to be run as installer/updater and excluding everything for it from the sandbox might be a bad idea, the steam games don't need to be malware however as recently proven with Gmod they can be used as attack vectors for malware creators (the exploit in Gmod is fixed now though) I'm still going to run steam as Installer/Updater though, I can't be bothered with setting up extensive rules for everything every time I install a new game and play a new game, it's a major pain.

Some people report problems with Steam and the Behavior Blocker with some games, so that's why I have suggested these settings. I got some freezes when I tried though that might be due to gaming inexperience.  I agree about the installer updater - but as you say anything else is too difficult for most people. Training mode is no answer in this context as you are just saying you trust the game....

Do you use game mode - I have never explored what it does and so have not suggested it.

Offline mouse1

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2014, 05:30:13 AM »
Clockwork had some HIPS settings that he said almost always worked. That would mean you could have a games policy for Hips.

Do you have the BB switched on Sanya?
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 05:53:09 AM by mouse1 »

Offline Sanya IV Litvyak

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2014, 06:31:58 AM »
Some people report problems with Steam and the Behavior Blocker with some games, so that's why I have suggested these settings. I got some freezes when I tried though that might be due to gaming inexperience.  I agree about the installer updater - but as you say anything else is too difficult for most people. Training mode is no answer in this context as you are just saying you trust the game....

Do you use game mode - I have never explored what it does and so have not suggested it.

I never use game mode and I would suggest against it unless Comodo changed the way it works, Game mode is (or at least was) basically setting CIS into training mode.

Clockwork had some HIPS settings that he said almost always worked. That would mean you could have a games policy for Hips.

Do you have the BB switched on Sanya?

I do not use BB, I use HIPS.
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Offline mouse1

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2014, 06:46:58 AM »
Without the above settings, in 8.1 VM (vanilla proactive, HIPS =safe) just had a complete OS freeze running an unknown game, so there is a problem....

Offline Sanya IV Litvyak

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2014, 07:00:02 AM »
Without the above settings, in 8.1 VM (vanilla proactive, HIPS =safe) just had a complete OS freeze running an unknown game, so there is a problem....

Could be an issue with the VM or the game or perhaps just the combination. What game is it, I may or may not have it so I may or may not be able to test it..
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Offline mouse1

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2014, 07:08:51 AM »
Could be an issue with the VM or the game or perhaps just the combination. What game is it, I may or may not have it so I may or may not be able to test it..

I was using hammerflight, as its free for next 4-5 days. Happened twice but I cannot replicate now - wierd. Maybe I changed some settings by then, but not all. I'll try again and let HIPS time out. Probably that was what it was.

Offline mouse1

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2014, 07:22:02 AM »
No I can freeze Steam by refusing the execution then clicking on Steam, but no OS freeze this time. Must be a dynamic issue or some combination of HIPS timeouts
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 07:23:43 AM by mouse1 »


Offline Sanya IV Litvyak

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2014, 08:07:52 AM »
Found Clockwork's HIPS settings:

https://forums.comodo.com/defense-sandbox-help-cis/i-want-to-give-up-on-cis-so-annoying-t82746.0.html;msg591084#msg591084
https://forums.comodo.com/defense-sandbox-help-cis/i-want-to-give-up-on-cis-so-annoying-t82746.0.html;msg595204#msg595204

Any thoughts?

Iunno, I'm just going to continue using the installer/updater ruleset for Steam, in case of malware I could just restore a backup. (I still wish we could edit the installer/updater ruleset though, I want to block it from accessing a certain folder)
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Offline mouse1

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft]
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2014, 12:11:51 PM »
Sorry just noticed "(instead of a whole group)"

Sound reasonable, but I was just worried about people missing alerts if in paranoid or if the in place updates that Steam performs lead to unsigned files.

Best wishes

Mike

Offline Dch48

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft] [v6] [v7]
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2014, 01:28:23 PM »
Steam and all it's games run perfectly with no special settings needed as long as you use the trusted files list and don't use HIPS. I have my BB set on untrusted and I never have any problems with Steam. You don't need any settings to specially trust games or exclude the Steam folder.
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Offline mouse1

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft] [v6] [v7]
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2014, 05:21:00 PM »
Steam and all it's games run perfectly with no special settings needed as long as you use the trusted files list and don't use HIPS. I have my BB set on untrusted and I never have any problems with Steam. You don't need any settings to specially trust games or exclude the Steam folder.

Thanks as always for the input Dch48

Yes I agree if you know what you are doing, stay out of FS mode, and watch for alerts and notifications most games should be OK.

The problem is that people don't (add games to trusted files if they miss the notification) and do (use HIPS and FW) when running full screen. Also some Steam games it appears conflict with guard32 and BO protection. I had a total OS freeze today experimenting with an unknown game.

So the above settings are about making it work for everyone, all or most of the time. As I note above experts can use a more restrictive approach.

Ideally we would know the minimum settings that would allow all Steam games to run perfectly without alerts. Unfortunately that's quite a research project.

Best wishes

Mouse

Offline Sanya IV Litvyak

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Re: Settings for running Steam [Draft] [v6] [v7]
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2014, 06:08:57 PM »
Thanks as always for the input Dch48

Yes I agree if you know what you are doing, stay out of FS mode, and watch for alerts and notifications most games should be OK.

The problem is that people don't (add games to trusted files if they miss the notification) and do (use HIPS and FW) when running full screen. Also some Steam games it appears conflict with guard32 and BO protection. I had a total OS freeze today experimenting with an unknown game.

So the above settings are about making it work for everyone, all or most of the time. As I note above experts can use a more restrictive approach.

Ideally we would know the minimum settings that would allow all Steam games to run perfectly without alerts. Unfortunately that's quite a research project.

Best wishes

Mouse

I've read somewhere that some games use buffer overflow for some reason, for what I do not know and I do not know if what I've read is true or not... I can't remember where I've read it either...
I support privacy and freedom online - eff.org

 

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