Tiny Watcher…..Who’s watching your PC?

If you’re like me, you don’t like to install Anti-Virus software or any of the malware removing utilities on your system. The machine is sitting behind a firewall and I know what is running on the machine (most of the time).

That said, I’ve always wanted to have the equivalent of trip-wire or rkhunter from Linux/Unix land. An application that would monitor the rest of windows and would alert me when vital files/registry entries get touched. Well, I think I’ve found such beastie and it’s free to boot. Grab Tiny Watcher and install it on your windows box and let it run once to create a profile. From then on TW will monitor your system and tell you when some application/installer changes something vital on your machine. You also get the option to heal/remove/delete the changes after the fact.

Tiny Watcher checks the following point:


All running processes. A hashcode check (SHA-1) is made on each process executable file. When a process executable is seen running for the first time, a “new process” warning is generated. Tiny Watcher also signals when two executable files run with the same process name (example: a worm calling itself “explorer.exe” running from c:\).

Registry keys or entries

NB: you can add keys to this list in the options window.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce (key)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices (key)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run (key)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce (key)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx (key)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce (key)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices (key)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run (key)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce (key)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Windows\run (entry)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Windows\load (entry)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\Run (key)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\Run (key)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit (entry)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Shell (entry)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\UIHost (entry)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\VmApplet (entry)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\BootExecute (entry)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ShellServiceObjectDelayLoad (key)

All the subkeys of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services are checked.

Other sensitive keys
HKEY_USERS\.Default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run (key)
HKEY_USERS\.Default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce (key)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components (key)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Browser Helper Objects (key)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\WOW\cmdline (entry)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\WOW\wowcmdline (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\vbsfile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\vbefile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\jsfile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\jsefile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\wshfile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\wsffile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\exefile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\comfile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\batfile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\scrfile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\piffile\shell\open\command\ (entry)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\SCRNSAVE.EXE (entry)

ini entries

win.ini, [windows], load
win.ini, [windows], run
system.ini, [boot], shell
system.ini, [boot], scrnsave.exe

File scan

During a quick scan, only the dates (creation and last modification) of the monitored files are compared with the snapshot (a change in a file’s content made by a non-malicious program can be detected).
During a deep scan, a hashcode check (SHA-1) is made on the monitored files, therefore any change in a file’s content can be detected.
Note that a deep scan is automatically performed to create the snapshot (the first time Tiny Watcher runs). Content (files and subdirectories) of the following directories is checked:

NB: you can edit this list in the options window.
– C:\
– Windows directory (c:\Windows or c:\WinNT or other name, depending on your machine)
– Windows system32
– Windows system32\drivers
– Windows system
– Windows system\iosubsys
– Windows system\vmm32

Shortcut files (.lnk) in startup folders:
– For all users (e.g. “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup”, depending on your machine)
– For the current user (e.g. “C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Start Menu\Programs\Startup”, depending on your machine)

The following separate files are also checked:
\system32\drivers\etc\hosts (in version 1.11 and above)

Scheduled tasks

All scheduled tasks. Executable path and parameters are checked. Schedule itself (date, time, frequency, etc.) and user authentication data (user and password) are not checked.

Have Fun, and remember to stay safe :-)


Leave a Reply