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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Feb 12, 2001 (Vol. 6, #9 - Issue #243)
State Of Certification
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • Well, Microsoft basically trashed the Windows 2000 name
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • State Of Certification
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • SMS & W2K User Conference March 5-9, 2001
    • Yes, Email _can_ be wiretapped, and easier than you think
    • First Giga/Sunbelt Survey Result: InActive Directory
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • FREE (really free) Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 Migration
    • It -IS- Broken, Darn It!
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  6. PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
    • Exam 70-220, Designing Security for a Windows 2000 Network
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  EDITORS CORNER

Well, Microsoft basically trashed the Windows 2000 name

Windows 2000 was officially announced in Feb 2000. I was there at the event in San Francisco when it happened. So, this month is its first anniversary. Redmond told the world that it expects to sell its one millionth copy of W2K during this month.

And at the same time, the 1-year old baby brand was knifed with the announcement that the next flavor of NT after W2K will be Windows XP. WXP will FINALLY replace both the NT and W9X product families.

The 'XP' brand must have been dreamt up by the Microsoft PR-flacks as it is supposed to stand for "experience." I have to admit that Windows 2002 would not have cut it either, but this is not a really strong name. I would probably have called it Windows One. Symbolizing the fact that it's one code base, and probably the first version where they have it practically all right the first time. And in case they don't, I already got an alternative meaning of XP: Extremely Painful. [grin].

But anyway, Word and Office will have the XP brand as well. None of these really are .NET versions yet though. That is still a ways off. The next version of Windows XP which has the code name Blackcomb has already been worked on for a while. Jeez, can you remember it all? Just off the top of my head and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few: Win95, Win98, WinCE, Win NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and blackcomb.

Unlike Linux which is young and has a steep growth curve ahead of it, MS is looking at market saturation and the only way for them to sell more low-end OS-es is when the PC hardware sales climb again. Server side things look a lot better. Growth is in the 20 and 30 percent there. Look for people skipping the upgrade to W2K all together since the announcement of WXP being available later this year.

Microsoft is applying an old rule. When you are this big, you have to compete with yourself and cannibalize your own products to keep revenues growing.

Next, remember to vote for our NEW SUNPOLL:

"The media are rife with bad economic news. How is this influencing your budgets for system management tools?"

  • Not at all. Budgets have been set and I can spend the approved dollars.
  • Management told us to watch our cost a bit more, nothing drastic though.
  • We are reducing our headcount and actually need more tools.
  • All my tools budgets have been put on ice.
  • I'm looking for a new job, my resume is on-line!
Vote over at: http://www.sunbelt-software.com

Warm regards,

Stu Sjouwerman

(email me with feedback: [email protected])

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  TECH BRIEFING

State Of Certification

Apart from NT/W2K related news, we're also committed to keep you up to date regarding Certification. Here is an overview of things, partly based on the recent SunPoll we did regarding MCSE for W2K which you can find here: http://www.sunbelt-software.com/sunpoll.cfm?id=8

To start with Microsoft: February 28 will be the retirement date for the core exams MCSE+Internet. If you are already certified for this, they expire end 2001. If you want to replace it, they suggest you take MCSE for W2K. I do not think that the second other alternative they recommend is any good. They say look at MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) but MCSE's are no developers. Makes no sense.

If you are an MCSE now, and want to get further certified I think there are only a few alternatives worth looking at. 1) Get your upgrade to MCSE for Windows 2000. The 70-240 exam is a good one to get there quick, but you have to move fast. The far majority is simply starting over again with the W2K Pro exam. 2) Go the CCNA route. A -lot- of people are doing this now. The CISCO CCNA books are selling like hotcakes at the moment. 3) Go for Linux certification. This was a very hot market a year ago with lots of venture capital pumped in.

Linux created its own little stock market bubble all by itself. Like the dotcoms, this market is now going though its own shake-out and a bunch of the fledgling Linux plays are either cutting staff, folding or merging with their old competitors. This is actually a fairly normal process and not to be worried about. Microsoft has correctly identified Linux as its biggest threat.

Linux as an OS is still young and has a fast growing future ahead of it. Growth percentages will be way up there, as it's always easy to grow 100 or 200% when you are small. (Sunbelt has grown something like 670% in the last 5 years). If you want to go in that direction, I suggest you check out the following site. It has been redesigned, they have up to date news there, classes, books and a brand new Linux Users Group (LUG)
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=021201TB1-Linux

Personally, there are two general Certification Sites I recommend you should have in your favorites as they cover all the main Certs and keep you up to date on the latest developments.
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=021201TB1-Examcram.com
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=021201TB3-Measureup.com

  NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

SMS & W2K User Conference March 5-9, 2001

Looking for the latest information on Microsoft SMS, W2K and the new Windows XP? The SMS & W2K User Conference is the place to go. This is the 4-th annual conference and is presented by Altiris, Microsoft and Compaq. GartnerGroup will also be attending and presenting a keynote on PC Management and Deployment. Dates for the conference are March 5-9, 2001 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel.

From what I hear, this is one of the premiere conferences on desktop management. Microsoft sends numerous developers and program managers who are accessible for your individual questions. The conference also has an extensive hands-on lab giving you great individualized training from the Microsoft developers. The conference sells out each year, so get registered now. For a complete agenda and registration:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=021201-Altiris-conference

Yes, Email _can_ be wiretapped, and easier than you think

The Privacy Foundation has recently learned of a security exploit that allows the sender of an email message to see what has been written when the message is forwarded with comments to other recipients. They nicknamed this problem "email wiretapping" because the exploit allows someone to surreptitiously monitor written messages attached to forwarded messages. It could even be offered as a 'marketing service' by offshore companies. The URL below links to the article on the Privacy Foundation website.

The exploit requires the person reading a wiretapped email message to be using an HTML-enabled email reader that also has JavaScript turned on by default. Affected email readers include Outlook, Outlook Express, and Netscape 6 Mail. The exploit is made possible because JavaScript is able to read text in an email message. If a message is forwarded to someone else, the hidden JavaScript code in the page can read any text that has been added to the message when it is forwarded.

This JavaScript code executes when the forwarded message is read. The code then silently sends off this text using a Web bug, or a hidden form, to a Web server belonging to the original sender of the message. The sender can then retrieve the text and read it. All of this uses standard documented features of JavaScript.

You can avoid the email wiretap by turning off JavaScript in the email reader. However, if the individual forwards the message to someone who has JavaScript turned on, that recipient's forwarded messages can still be wiretapped. In addition, copying the original message into a new email, rather than forwarding it, may not defeat the exploit. For the instructions on how to turn off the Active Scripting that allows this: http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=021201A-email-wiretap

First Giga/Sunbelt Survey Result: InActive Directory

C|Net.com reported this week about the Giga/Sunbelt Survey we did in January this year. One of the things our new survey shows is that not many people use Active Directory. (AD allows you to more easily manage resources on your corporate networks).

Pretty much everyone agrees that W2K is one of the most stable and reliable products Microsoft has released. But they also agree that AD has been such a bear to implement that very few Windows 2000 Server customers are using it. Only a few are running it in a production environment.

A new study due out next week, conducted jointly by Giga and Sunbelt Software, will include survey data from 1,200 information technology customers worldwide. Of these, 30 percent have installed Windows 2000 Server. But only 10 to 15 percent of those have used Active Directory, according to the report, co-authored by DiDio and Norbert Kriebel. That 10 percent to 15 percent comprises two groups: small sites with a single domain and very high-end Fortune 500 firms.

DiDio said that of the 40 percent of customers who said they will upgrade to Windows 2000 Server over the next six to 12 months, the majority are delaying using Active Directory "indefinitely." Why? Complexity is not the only reason. The fact that AD only runs on Windows is another limitation, as is the lack of AD-trained consultants and IT professionals, Giga said.

Internal customer politics also have proven to be a tough hurdle for Microsoft. "You need to get your engineers and managers to sit together to agree on how to restructure your company's networking structure in order to deploy" Active Directory, said a consultant with a major New York financial institution, who requested anonymity.

The consultant said Microsoft needs tools beyond the rudimentary ones that Microsoft provides as part of its Systems Management Server add- on product to help customers implement Active Directory. "You need to get the whole (Active Directory) deployment right from the start, or you'll just have to rip it out and start over," the consultant said.

The rest of the article, what Microsoft's answer is, and what they are doing about it is at C|Net's site over here:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=021201A-inactivedir
Already running Active Directory and need some tools to monitor it?
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=333

  THIRD PARTY NEWS

FREE (really free) Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 Migration

Tools from Quest Software. You gotta see this.

Listen up all of you! I was just sent this announcement which means yet again a revolutionary move in the software world. ANOTHER major software developer that is actually giving a complete product away for free - for a whole year. I'm simply copying below what they sent me so you get the exact offer. I strongly suggest you get this, and the training that goes with it. It's a high quality, top tier, lab tested and Editor's Choice tool. Free. Pretty darn good offer. Here goes:

"Enterprise Migration Program - FREE DM/Manager - REGISTER today! Quest Software announces the Enterprise Migration Program, featuring Fastlane DM/Manager software for FREE. Expedite your Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 deployments - rollout DM/Manager today and start leveraging Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000.

DM/Manager[tm] makes enterprise-class Active Directory migrations possible. Enterprises upgrading to Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 must migrate existing NT 4 users, groups and computers into Active Directory - DM/Manager, the industry's leading migration product, will ensure a successful migration.

DM/Manager:

  • automates Active Directory migrations, through an in-depth migration guide, which provides a step-by-step walkthrough of the migration.
  • simplifies, automates, and tracks the migration of users, groups and computers to Active Directory.
  • enables seamless Exchange 2000 upgrades by embracing and extending Exchange 2000 Active Directory Connector (ADC).
DM/Manager is now available for FREE with the Enterprise Migration Program. Leverage FastLane's proven expertise in NT 4 domain conso- lidation and Windows 2000 migrations - make the Enterprise Migration Program the best solution to get you to Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 NOW.

The Quest Enterprise Migration Program provides FastLane DM/Manager for FREE to end users, channel partners and Microsoft Consulting Services. To receive unlimited use of DM/Manager, you must participate in a 5 day "Accelerated Migration Service" from FastLane Professional Services, or through a FastLane certified Partner, or Microsoft Consulting Services.

Find out why over 1,000,000 users have registered in this program! REGISTER NOW - to receive DM/Manager for FREE you must register and qualify for the program, before June 30, 2001. For more info and to register, click here:
http://www.quest.com/enterprise_migration

It -IS- Broken, Darn It!

You know, the old rule is still valid. 'If it ain't broken, don't fix it. But... Microsoft releases fixes for Windows NT, 2000 and Terminal Server constantly. (Not to mention fixes for all kinds of other products). Many of these OS updates fix security related vulnerabilities and system stability problems.

If you do not apply these fixes, you're vulnerable to possible intrusions. The OS is constantly being updated for common, critical security and stability problems. The amount of fixes is actually going UP every year. Remember: SECURITY IS A CONTINUAL PROCESS. Not a "we?ll fix it once and we're good for another year".

More over, Dave Kearns reported that it seems that all new hotfixes come with a catalog, listing all hotfixes released through the date of the current hotfix. Hotfixes produced after the release of Service Pack 1, and before Dec. 18, 2000, had incorrect catalogs included. This could cause Windows File Protection to remove a valid hotfix from a system, under fairly specific conditions. This could cause your system to revert to a version of a Windows 2000 module that contained a security vulnerability.

The process of taking inventory, researching the knowledgebase of updates and deploying the fixes is time-consuming and complex. The challenge is to automate this process in an easy and reliable way. One great solution to do that is SPQuery.

This product enables you to conduct research, take inventory and deploy these updates to all your networked machines. SPQuery enhances your security, keeps systems up to date, eliminates sneaker-net, and improves your system reliability (and thus your Quality of Service)

The brand new version 4.2 makes it even easier to manage these fixes! Real-time notification of new updates and real-time feedback about deployment status are just two new features. You can access machines with different IDs and passwords, and it?s a snap to deploy multiple updates to any number of machines with a single action. New reports take the guesswork out of deployment and inventory. I'd suggest you try the most comprehensive list of updates for free for 15 days. Download the new version of SPQuery and you will like what you see:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/redir.cfm?id=021201A-spquery

  FAVE LINKS

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

Panasonic releases a 32MB drive that will use standard 1.4 floppies
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,41716,00.html?tw=w

Sweden is the world's most information oriented society, US:#4
http://www.internetnews.com/intl-news/article/0,,6_584211,00.html

Good site for hints and tips for NT Administrators
http://is-it-true.org/nt/atips/index.shtml

  PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

Exam 70-220, Designing Security for a Windows 2000 Network

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