Secure attention key
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A secure attention key (SAK) or secure attention sequence (SAS) is a special key or key combination to be pressed on a computer keyboard before a login screen which must, to the user, be completely trustworthy. The operating system kernel, which interacts directly with the hardware, is able to detect whether the secure attention key has been pressed. When this event is detected, the kernel starts the trusted login processing.
The secure attention key is designed to make login spoofing impossible, as the kernel will suspend any program, including those masquerading as the computer's login process, before starting a trustable login operation.
Some examples are:
- Ctrl+Alt+Delete for Windows NT.
- Alt+SysRq+K default sequence for Linux. Not a true C2-compliant SAK.
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